Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cooking at Home

In the past few months, we have been cutting down on going out to eat. We have been cooking and baking at home. I don't know that I would have ever thought that cooking a full meal for the family and cleaning up would be less stressful than going out, but it is. At home, there is less distraction for the kids and we don't have to worry about any potential mood swings. Those of you who have experienced 2-3 year old children know what I'm talking about! Not spending the money on dining out is less stressful, too.

Here are few handy tools I like to use to make things as easy as possible.

1. Rice cooker- a good friend, who is Indian, graciously offered to teach some tricks and tips for Indian food (30 minutes or less)for me and another friend of ours. I learned a lot and we had an amazing feast. This was the first time I was exposed to a rice cooker. Wow! It was love at first site. I queried my Mommies network and got some recommendations. I asked for one for my birthday. I was so excited when DH brought home my Aroma rice cooker from Costco. The one I got was silver and black. It was inexpensive, but works perfectly. Perfect rice and wonderful steamed veggies.

2. Breadmaker- I bought a breadmaker about 5 years ago. I tried a loaf and failed miserably. I was devastated. When we moved into our current house, I stored it in the closet. I was so bummed that it didn't work out. This summer I was inspired by several blogs. There were so many people that made all of their bread. Surely, I could do this! I asked the fellow mommies on my Mommies Network about their experiences. They shared recipes and tips. I pulled out the bread machine and sat it on the counter. It sat a couple weeks while I reviewed the manual over and over. I tried a load, it was a brick. I asked DH to try a loaf and it was the first survivable loaf produced in the machine. Then I decided that the dough making cycle would probably best suit our needs. Pizza dough! DH was just as excited as I was. Next, we tried pretzel dough. Amazing and perfect for to pack in the kids' lunches. Last weekend, we made dough for dinner rolls. They were fantastic. We repeated for Thanksgiving and they were quite the hit. The breadmaker has officially earned it's place on the counter. This weekend we made naan in the breadmaker. Best of all we are using whole foods- no High Fructose Corn Syrup!

3. Toaster oven- perfect for heating up naan or cooking quick meals.

4. Small stoneware bar pan- This stoneware is made my Pampered Chef. It fits toaster ovens perfectly. The little scrapers that come with it are wonderful, too. We use those every day.

5. Crock pot- We have an on again, off again relationship. I'm hoping it's on again soon. I broke my old one that I got as a wedding gift last year. I wasn't upset because it didn't have a separate insert you could pull out to wash. I got a new one for Christmas. It has timers, multiple settings, and you can pull the insert out to wash it easily. I've got a couple recipes planned for this week. It really is less muss and fuss.

6. The Sneaky Chef Cookbook- I love this book. It's been great to bring more nutrition into foods that the kids already like to eat. Many of my friends know I have a slight obsession with this book. I'll have to give reviews of the recipes we've tried. the rice cooker has been a perfect partner to this book.

7. The Magic Bullet- Talk about less muss and fuss, this little powerhouse is the real deal. I was dragging out my huge Cuisinart food processor to make purees and grind oats for The Sneaky Chef recipes. Oh, the mess and the cleanup! One day it hit me, I need to pull out the bullet. It was perfect when I was making Sissy's baby food. It is just the right size for making the purees.

Those are my favorite tools of the trade right now. I'm always interested in hearing about other's preferred cooking tools are.

1 comment:

Aroma Rice Cooker said...

This is an awesome blog that is related to Aroma Rice Cooker that one must cook at home because if we use this aroma rice cooker then one can have the rice within minutes.