Slow cooker diaries: Honey crisp applesauce

Lately we’ve been buying bagged apples instead of picking bulk. Bags of smaller apples work great for the kid’s school lunch or snack, as well as my work lunch or snack. 

The other day the husband bought a bag of bad apples. Like, a few were good and the others, maybe 10 small apples were bruised or worse. So I took them, I peeled them, cored them, quartered them, and slow cooked them. 

Added the juice of half a lemon and one cinnamon stick. SC on high for 3 hours. At that point, all I had to do was take a fork and mash up any big chunks. The apples softened great, the cinnamon stick flavored the sauce to a tee. Quite tasty. 

I saved it in a Tupperware. A 16 oz container. 10+ apples, what would be an apple a day for me and the kiddo for a full week of work/school, made what appeared to be less than 16 oz container, which wouldn’t sat more than a few days in this house. As much as I loved this, you get much more out of eating the actual apple (and don’t forget, the fiber is in the skin, which I peeled and composted!). You know, when they’re not rotten.


just a serving of homemade applesauce

Just a reminder for you applesauce lovers. Applesauce is good! In moderation.

Pulled Pork

Darn Drafts folder. These have been patiently waiting to be published since Memorial Day.

I did a simple Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, using nothing but the pork (boston butt, ha ha) and some Bone Suckin’ Sauce (one jar of the Thicker Style variety). The first time I did pulled pork, I followed the recipe to a tee, including marinating the sucker overnight. This was more of a dump and go kind of thing, and believe it or not you could kind of tell the difference.

Still delicious, though. I surrounded mine in greens: a mixed salad and steamed broccoli.
pulled pork over greens

Here is the pre-schooler (soon to be kindergartner, yeeks) plate … using one of her dad’s favorite rolls, the ciabatta bun from Macrina Bakery.WP_20140526_005


Summer is starting early here in Seattle. I may be putting my SC away for a few months.

B.L.T.’s and Beef-Mushroom Soup

Often, when it cook dinner on Sundays, I spend Saturday nights in my pajamas hunting for good ideas. Sometimes I run them by the husband, sometimes I wait til morning. Last night I suggested B.L.T.’s to the husband, mainly to warn him to not eat bacon at breakfast. He was on board, cool.

For some strange reason I thought we’d need something else, so this morning I also bought ingredients for a slow cooker beef soup. Except for the beef broth, which the husband had to get during kitchen prep time. Oops.

Anyway,I bought the husband his favorite ciabatta rolls by Macrina. I bought myself a sweet potato so I could try PaleOMG’s sweet potato noodle bun. It gave me an excuse to try my new julienne slicer (thanks for the birthday gift, sue). I wasn’t confident about the sweet potato noodle bun, so much so that I didn’t use it to sandwich my B.L.T. I did a simple lettuce wrap for that. I did spread some guacamole on top, and as it turns out, it was the frikkin best weirdly prepared sweet potato recipe I’ve tried to date. And pretty easy to make, though now I wonder if I should invest in a Spiralizer. Oh, it might have helped that I used some leftover bacon fat to fry those suckers.


Husband had a B.E.L.T. (added a fried egg). I don’t know why we don’t do B.L.T.’s more often. Oh, right. Maybe it’s because the kiddo’s ended up being a “B” … But here is a pic before her deconstruction.


The beef-mushroom soup was based on the beef-barley soup from my NEW slow cooker cookbook, Slow Cooker Revolution (thanks, Sue!). It barely fit in my slow cooker, but other than that, all was well. I had a small bowl as a test, but will be eating soup at work for the rest of the week, methinks.


Soup ingredients: onion, tomato paste, thyme, carrots, mushrooms, chicken and beef stock, beef blade, crushed tomatoes.

Slow Cooker Paleo Apple Crisp (take two)

I attempted a paleo apple dessert in the slow cooker again and am much happier with these results. Here was my previous attempt.

paleo apple crisp done in the slow cooker

paleo apple crisp done in the slow cooker

Apple Filling

  • 3 large apples (I used Granny Smith), peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 c unsweetened coconut, shredded
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tbsp raw honey


  • 3 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 c unsweetened coconut, shredded
  • 1/2 c walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 c almond flour
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey
  • More cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, adjusted to your preference
  • boiling water (to soften dates)

Place pitted dates in a small bowl or ramekin and pour enough boiling water to cover them. Let them sit for at least 5 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and slice the apples, creating even slices of about 1/2 inch thick. Toss apples into the greased slow cooker (I used cooking spray). Combine the rest of the filling ingredients into the SC, adjusting spices and sweetener to your preferences and stir until it is well combined.

Drain the water from the dates and use a fork to mash the dates and create a smooth paste. Combine all topping ingredients in a small bowl and mix until very well combined, then spread evenly over apples.

Set the SC on low for 5 hours. At 5 hours remove the lid and continue on low for another 15-30 minutes. Serve warm!

Or not!

I removed the lid as we sat down for dinner (a delicious repeat of this dish), and by “dessert time” everything seemed set. The apples were soft and the dates provided a dried fruit/sweeter experience. I bet it tastes great with ice cream, or perhaps some coconut milk sprinkled on top.

Kiddo didn’t care for it this time (though she’s been spoiled with birthday desserts this week, including strawberry shortcake and homemade tootsie rolls from a friend’s party today).

I enjoyed it as is. Had two helpings, I did.


Breakdown on the #Whole30 highway

… And 209 hours after I started the Whole30, I had a slice of sausage mushroom pizza from Pagliacci. I wish I could say it was the best tasting pizza ever, but it was a little too hot and eaten too quickly to be enjoyed. The next day I had 2 Manny’s Pale Ales and a dinner of breads hummus, nachos, and you get the gist. But this post isn’t about my downfall. That’s the next one. This one is about the highs before the lows. It’s about winter squash.

Last week the kid and I ventured out to the U-District Farmers Market and came home with squash. One spaghetti, one acorn and one pumpkin, at least I think it was a pumpkin. The pumpkin was something the kid wanted, but didn’t want to eat, and which I found in her room getting mushy and threw out.

The acorn I used to make 4 Ingredient Acorn Squash Candy as a side to this chicken dinner from last Sunday. For the chicken I decided to try to “roast” in the slow cooker (just Bing “slow cooker roast chicken” and you will run into a handful of recipes). Probably won’t do that again, but it was handy because it left the oven free for squash experiments.

The experiment being the acorn squash. I don’t think I like acorn squash. Maybe a lot of butter and sugar make it taste better, but the bacon I added didn’t do the trick (and Paleomg repeatedly said it would taste like candy. It did not.)

This is the plating of the slow-cooker roasted chicken, squash and green beans. The chicken could have used a little more flavoring, or some basting throughout. But uncovering to baste defeats the “let it be” philosophy of the slow cooker, and requires you to add more time in the cooker, which I didn’t have.
The spaghetti squash was used for lunch, and was the best tasting of the different things I made that day. And was easy peasy. Squash + marinara sauce + leftover chicken breast = lunch for a week.

Spaghetti squash, for anyone that doesn’t know, doesn’t taste like spaghetti. It tastes like squash. You know what tastes like spaghetti? Spaghetti does. So keep this in mind when you make yourself this plate and you’ll do just fine.

So. Whole30 is more or less over, though my kitchen is full of paleo ingredients, and there are still more paleo recipes to come on the blog. And a few kinda sorta paleo recipes as well.

Slow cooker diaries: Morrocan Chicken

I’ve made this one before, and even made the comment that it wouldn’t take much to Paleo-ize the recipe. And so, here it is:

Morrocan Chicken

Morrocan Chicken

  • chopped red pepper
  • red onion
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can (more or less) tomato paste
  • 1.5-2 lbs chicken thighs
  • raisins
  • Cauliflower florets
  • 1-2 tsp cumin seeds (I mashed them with my mortar and pestle first. How awesome is it that I am using our mortar and pestle)
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Almond nut butter

Combine them all but almond butter with chicken on top in your slow cooker. I start with a half the tomato paste, then add the second half later on in the cooking process. I like my sauce/gravy thick. Cooked on high for the first hour, then low for 5 – 6 hours. Instant thermometer read 180 degrees before I decided it was ready. At that point I swirled in a big fat tbsp of almond butter.

Husband served it to little one with delicious, fresh, wonderful Parpadelle noodles that I did without. Mmmm … noodles.

So, this was my dress rehearsal to my Whole30 experiment. I bought myself a “last-supper” piece of chocolate to enjoy as my swan song … which I forgot to eat last night. Grrr.

Recipe adapted from NYMSCC.

Slow cooker diaries, the last entry of 2013

I’ve been itching for some good ol’ fashioned pasta with meat sauce. What was once a weekly staple has become something reserved for a special occasion. Now, when I do pasta for dinner, it’s got to be an event, something like New Year’s Eve!

To start, olives, marinated mushrooms, duck pate and crackers. Classy.

I made a small batch of an Italian red sauce, using ground lamb, onion, carrot & mushrooms. Fresh parpadelle is the only way I roll these days. On the side, oven-roasted broccoli with panko breadcrumbs and parm-reg shavings.


A nice glass of Cabernet-Sauvignon, an enjoyable, quiet meal with the husband and child.


For dessert the family shared a slice of chocolate pie and pumpkin pie. Stylin!

It’s been an indulgent December for me. More bread, grains, sweets and sugar than anyone deserves. Mmmmmm. Come January, back to reality. But it’s been a swell ride.


Slow cooker diaries: Pork Stew with cider

This one is … Interesting. It’s simple enough: pork shoulder cut Into cubes; tart apple cored and cubed; sliced water chestnuts; hard cider.
I’ve cooked with alcoholic beverages in the past: beef stroganoff, Guinness BBQ sauce, husband makes these tasty whiskey mushrooms. The alcohol burns off, right? Right? Then why, when having my leftovers at lunch today, did I feel slightly lightheaded? Almost buzzed? I didn’t notice anything yesterday as I had the remaining cider with my meal. Husband didn’t notice anything but he also has a far higher tolerance than me, and the following morning he did mention a little weirdness. And child? Good golly, did I give my kid a spiked bowl of stew? I guess it’s a good thing she didn’t want to eat what I cooked.
There could be other reasons fir that feeling. I’ve changed my diet… I was running on about 4 hours sleep. Add any other reasons here. Not sure I’ll be making this one again.


Slow Cooker Diaries: Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce

Pork loin in the SC has not always worked out for me. I tend to shy away, but I suggested this to the Husband the night prior and he gave a thumbs up so I decided to go for it. A great dish, with the majority of the spice ingredients in-house.


Pork loin, teriyaki sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes. The pork needs to be in for a good 8 hours, and peanut butter is swirled into the sauce at the very end. Brilliant way to do this, which was not a method suggested in an Internet version of a similar dish.

Tonight’s dinner was South Beach Phase 2. I imagine there is some sugar in the pre-made teriyaki sauce I used, but I suppose you could develop a non-sugar version if you were so inclined. today i was not. Instead of the suggested jasmine rice, I used lettuce cups. Kiddo and husband just went without a grain. I also made a salad and stir fried some green beans (what the kid and I call crunchy style). This tasted great. Will add it to the rotation. Next time, more pork, more leftovers.

Recipe from NYMSCC.

Slow Cooker Diaires: Simple beef chili

Catching up on some food posts. Found this pic from a month or two ago. Husband generally doesn’t care for chili or soup for dinner. So I conjured up this one on a day I knew he had other plans. Pretty sure he still had some despite his plans.


Brown the beef. Kidney beans, diced tomatoes and onions. Love recipes where they call for lots of cans of stuff! That’s guac and plain Greek yogurt on the side. While Greek yogurt is a great alternative to sour cream I wish it didn’t look like sour cream, because it does and you expect that creamy sour taste. Sigh.