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Easy Cooking for Kids

I remember my mother teaching me to cook and the happy times I spent in the kitchen with her.  Easy cooking for kids doesn't have to be something you are going to spend all day on as kids get bored rather quickly.  Using your crock pot will mean they can get their cooking going and then watch it as it cooks.

Easy cooking for kidsFollow these 4 tips and your experience and theirs will be memorable:

1.  Use simple recipes and the kind of food they like to eat.

2.  Use easy to read step by step instructions.  Easy cooking for kids depends on this for success.

3. Try and keep the number of steps to a minimum with five being the most.  If the recipe is too complicated they will get bored and you will have to finish it all off.  Crock pot cooking is good in this respect as you often can get three step recipes or less.

4.  Select the ingredients and have them all together measure out ready to go. For example have chicken pieces already cut to the size you need for the recipe.  This is especially important if the children are young so you can avoid them using knives.

Crock pot cooking provides easy cooking for kids as it is relatively safe compared to the oven or stove top cooking methods.  Also these recipes are faily foolproof in the crock pot so they will have some good experiences cooking with you.

The good news too is that when you cook in your crock pot you won't end up with lots of washing up to do and this is good news for you and the kids.  If you are busy you can get older children to cook simple recipes in the slow cooker all by themselves and that can be a great help to you as well.

You can see that using the crock pot can provide a way for easy cooking for kids.  Pick easy step recipes and they will be rewarded with a great experience  lovely crock pot meals.  Don't forget you can also cook cakes and desserts in the crock pot and kids love these too.

You can get some great cookbooks for crock pot cooking at eBay.  Just click on this link to go there now!

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I got my crock pot cake pan!

I got my crock pot cake pan for Christmas and already have made a few cakes in it.  The crock pot cake came out great in this pan.  It fits perfectly in my old crock pot which is a round one but not the smaller one I also have.  I  love crock pot baking with this pan. They are much harder to find in Australia compared to in the US but I was fortunate to obtain one through an eBay auction.  Rival in the US and Monier in Australia made these cake pans for use in their round crocks many years ago.

crock pot cake panYou don't have to have a crock pot cake pan to cook cakes in the crock pot.  You can use an ordinary cake pan or other dish that fits your crock base.  I just like having the vented lid which means I don't need to add paper towel over my cake when cooking to absorb the moisture.  With it having a lid you can use it also to carry your cake in.

When buying a crock pot cake pan check the circumference of the pan and make sure it fits your crock pot.  There is a deep size that you can get also which may not fit into even some of the larger pots because of the height so you see it is important to check for sizes before buying any cake pan.  You need to be able to put the lid on your crock pot as well as the crock pot cake pan.

I love crock pot baking and they make crock pot cooking even easier.  I store the cake pan in my crock pot so no extra space is required in my cupboard.  A crock pot cake bakes well in the slow cooker and even rises well too.  Why not get a crock pot cake pan yourself for your own slow cooker.

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Beef Casserole with Paprika

This is a great crock pot meal to prepare and eat  on a cold rainy night to keep you warm inside.   It's easy to make this Beef Casserole with Paprika and you should have all the ingredients in your pantry although I have only become a fan of smoked paprika for about a year so I wouldn't have had that myself before then.

Casseroles are perfect for winter or when you know you haven't got much time to cook as you just set and forget in the crock pot.  I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you want to adjust it slightly then go ahead and let me know how it turns out.  Cooking is all about experimenting with the recipe to suit your tastes and this crock pot meal is no exception.

Beef Casserole with Paprika

1 kg steak cut into large cubes*Beef casserole with Paprika
1 tab butter
2 onions, chopped
1 tab butter extra
1 tab plain flour
2 teas mustard
2 tabs tomato paste
1/2 teas regular paprika
1/2 teas smoked paprika
1/2 cup each of red wine and beef stock **
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the meat in the first lot of butter and remove to the crock pot.  Add the extra butter then add the onions and cook until clear then add the  flour.  Cook for a minute then add the rest of the ingredients to the pan.  Bring to the boil stirring constantly then pour over the meat in the crock pot.  Cook on high for 4 hours on high or 6 - 7 hours on low.  If  the casserole needs any more thickening do that now just before serving.  You may find you  need this as the meat does give off more juices during cooking.  Serves 4 - 5.

Serve  Beef Casserole with Paprika with rice, mashed potatoes or small whole potatoes.  As there are only two of us this crock pot meal makes two meals for us.  I serve it one night with the small potatoes topped with sour cream and steamed vegetables, and the next night with rice as a quick meal.

*  Cheaper cuts do well cooked on the low setting
** You can replace the red wine with the same amount of beef stock if you want.

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Little known other uses for the crock pot

Most people know that crock pots are an excellent choice for cooking easy and healthy recipes. But did you know that your slow cooker can also be used for a variety of projects besides making edibles?

Your crock pot can be used as an air freshener. It takes only three ingredients: baking soda, essential oil and water, in a slow cooker on the low setting without the lid, and your house will smell noticeably fresher in just a few hours.candle-4

Candles are easy to make in the crock pot , and this project makes good use of leftover candles that don’t light anymore. With your slow cooker and old candle wax, heat-proof glass containers and wicks, you can have brand new candles in just a few hours.

Slow cookers make easy and fun Christmas ornaments. First, make a flour and salt-based dough and cut shapes with cookie cutters. After baking for a few hours in the crock pot, the ornaments are ready to paint and hang on the tree. This technique can also be used to make beads for stringing.

You can dye yarn or fabric in your crock pot using just hot water, vinegar and dye. Be sure to rinse the dyed fabric or yarn in clear water thoroughly to ensure colorfastness.  Amazon has this great book on Fast, Fun & Easy Fabric Dyeing check it out for more detailed but easy instructions on dyeing.

Everyone loves play dough, and it is simple to make in a slow cooker. With a few ingredients such as flour, corn starch, salt and water, you can have a fresh new batch of  Play Dough in under two hours.

If haven't got a crock pot in your kitchen then NOW is the time to do something about it.

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