“Pray, sit down , shut up and eat!” These immortal words, spoken by a friend’s beloved late firefighter father, were the bedrock to peace at his family dinner table while he was growing up. There were five kids in my friends’ family (there are 9 in mine) and I hate to admit that since he told me this that I say this nine out of ten times that we sit down to eat dinner. We eat together almost every night. I found out that while conceiving a child and then raising them and loving them, being pushed to the edge of sanity and coming back again does make me a mother, it’s having these children learn to speak that made me be perceived as a short order cook. This being said, I put the kibosh on complaining and the kids know that it is not their right to expect individual, custom meals every day.
I could never get through the school year without my crock pots. Shortly after my house fire, a friend who knew how much I loved and missed my crock pots post fire delivered several to our hotel. Those crock pots were one of my anchors to what I was missing and they smelled up the Grandview with good things until our departure a month later. Said crock pots followed me to our rental home and they are in almost daily use.
Crock pot cooking is the ultimate in fast food for busy families. You throw in a base liquid, add meat and vegetables and you are done. If you are making a breakfast or a coffee cake, the method is as easy as following directions. Since we have a week of rain ahead of us and Mat-Su and Anchorage schools starting in less than a month, this is as good a time as any to try out some easy recipes to throw in the crock pot and take the kids to the library or to a local fun place and come home to a fast cooked meal that is good for the kids. This is also a method that your kids can help you prepare.
I seldom measure anything, but a present day Davis favorite is corned beef with vegetables. I let my kids over the age of 9 wash & chop veggies like a few single carrots, red potatoes, an onion (we use a set of swimming goggles to protect our eyes, but All I Saw Cookware in Wasilla has had special kitchen goggles, as do many local stores for this purpose.) I pour in a half can of the cheapest apple juice I have on hand or can buy, add the dry seasoning to the water, and add a huge slab of corned beef that I normally cut in half to the mix and pack vegetables around it. I either put it on low or high, and serve it with sauerkraut and rye bread. I always reserve enough dinner for my husband to take it to work the next day.
An easy recipe for any sized family is this one, Apple Pie Coffee Cake or Pumpkin Cake which younger children love to pour in the ingredients with Mom at their side. It is especially fun to wake up to the smell of this and coffee set on a timer instead of humdrum cereal. (Our clan likes this in particular on Saturday mornings or on Sundays when we decide to not go to church, but it is really nice any day of the week.
Try coming home to a crock pot preparation. Remember to turn it on before you leave the house (I have forgotten once. Once.) and you will come home with one less thing to do that often takes up a lot of time. Buy several and see what you can do in 20 minutes or less of preparation time!
Always remember to pray, shut up and eat. Bon appetit!