December 13th, 2009

Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking


Stephanie O’Dea went into 2008 with a New Year’s resolution; namely, to use her slow cooker every day, and then write down each of the recipes in her blog.  She isn’t a professional cook, but she had a slow cooker and a kid with a gluten allergy.  The culmination of this year of hits and misses is her book, Make It Fast, Cook it Slow:  The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking.

I caught O’Dea on one of the morning network news shows.  I found her engaging and very approachable.  The recipes didn’t seem intimidating, and I thought if this working mom could come up with these recipes, blog about them and raise her ever growing family – the least I could do is buy the darn book.  And, since I won’t have a personal chef who will have my dinner waiting for me when I get home anytime soon, I thought that this would be a great addition to my cookbook library.   

I find the recipes to be simple and straightforward.  They also go way beyond the traditional stews, soups and stocks that you may think are the extent to which you can use your Crock Pot.  Instead, O’Dea gives readers everything from tasty dips and hot drinks that are company-ready; hearty breakfast foods that are a treat to wake up to (like her granola and creamy apple oatmeal); and of course dinners that keep us eating at home, regardless of how lousy the day was at work.

There are two aspects of the book that make it a winner for me.  First off, O’Dea suggests a slow cooker size (2, 4 or 6 quart) in each recipe, which makes it easier for this slow cooker novice to sift through the recipes.  Secondly, all of the recipes are written with gluten-free and “regular” ingredients.  This is helpful as I continue to educate myself about what ingredients I may want to experiment with.  

I am especially impressed with O’Dea’s determination on making it through the year and then putting her project to print.  It’s quite a tasty accomplishment!

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Kids covered from head to toe in sticky sand? Reach in your diaper bag for the Baby Powder, give them a good shake-down (with the powder, that is) and “Poof!” they’ll be clean as a whistle (and smelling powder fresh to boot!)