By: Sandy Churchill
When my children were small, dinner prep seemed to rob time at, “the bewitching hour”—where babies fussed, toddlers required more attention, and school-age children needed help with homework or rides to karate, soccer, and rehearsals. The idea of sparing 30 minutes or more each night to make dinner seemed unreachable many days and certainly unrealistic as our schedules became more crazy by the year.
The crockpot was our miracle solution for cozy dinners that could be prepped super-fast, and cooked slowly throughout the day. We made adventures out of guess-what’s-in-it stews and made favorites of BBQ beef, ham, and sweet potatoes, and cherry almond oatmeal. The house smelled heavenly from these crockpot meals, my husband and kids were fed, and my stress level plummeted. Yay!
A more modern version is the twist on the vintage pressure-cooker, called the InstaPot. A few friends have one and swear by it, and my daughter and son-in-law have recently tried theirs as well. The up side is speedy-fast cooking that yields chili, beef stew, roasts, and more entrees in under an hour. Lightning speed!
And who says this time-saver is just for harried moms? This little beauty can be a winner for any of us in the frazzled state of working, parenting, and, “adulting,” all over the place!
The realization for us in our “emptier” nest, with my youngest just entering the teen years, is that time-savers and stress-savers have a worthy place in our home for all of us. This is a gem for any life stage!
Case in point: twice a week I am chaperoning my son to karate around the dinner hour, three days a week I teach late-afternoon classes, and one night a week my husband and I teach Sunday School. That doesn’t count community meetings, scouting adventures, homeschooling field trips, and get-togethers with family and friends.
Dinner time is often NOT a peaceful bucket of time to leisurely contemplate what to make, chop vegetables, roast chicken, and so on. While I have never been a bright-and-shiny “morning person” who thrills at 6:00 a.m. rising, ready to embrace the day, I am most definitely NOT a mad-dashing dinner scrambler who loves chaotically throwing something together when I am exhausted from running around all day. The solution? Get it together early enough in the day and let the crockpot do the work. My family deserves it, and so do I. 🙂