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You have a crowd coming for Christmas or the New Year and you are cooking for them.  How do you make sure this event is a success?

Do your homework!  What kind of foods do they like, what can you make, what can you buy, does anyone have food allergies and what is your budget are some of the questions you need to ask yourself.  Draft up a menu and don't forget snacks, bread and drinks.  Pin that up or put it on the fridge for a few days.  You will probably add or subtract to it in that time.

Now you need a grocery list for each dish on your menu.  Check your recipes so you don't forget anything.  Work out when you are going to buy everything.  Perishables will have to be left until last but other goods can be bought ahead and stored.  Work out how you are going to make all the food and which ones you will buy in.  Don't forget the crock pot recipes here as they can be made a day or two before your dinner/lunch.

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Crock Pot Minced Beef and Fettuccine

I like this crock pot recipe as it goes a long way and is good to take to pot luck parties or just when you want easy meals your family and friends they can help themselves to.  I cook this crock pot meal usually for Sunday night dinner and have it again Monday night.  It saves me cooking at least one night.

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Pineapple upside down cake

This pineapple upside down cake is one of my recipes that I have adapted for the crock pot .  I can let it cook while I'm out shopping or in the yard, gardening and I have a dessert cake for afternoon tea or for dinner.  I used a 7 - 8 inch cake tin that fits into my crock pot but you don't need to if  yours has a removable liner.  I just find it easier to turn the cake out onto a plate without it sticking.

4 rings of sliced pineapple
2 oz (60 g) butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablspn dessicated coconut (optional)
6 red glace cherries
Cake Mix:
2 oz (60 g) soft butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1/4 teasp vanilla essence
1 1/4 cups Self Raising Flour
1/2 cup milk

Pour the melted butter into the crock pot base and sprinkle over the brown sugar.  Arrange the pineapple rings over the top with the glace cherries. If your crock pot base is oval cutting the pineapple will help to arrange it more evenly.

To make up the cake mix cream the butter and caster sugar until light and then beat in the egg and vanilla, mixing well.  Sift the flour and fold into the batter alternatively with the milk.  Pour into the crock pot slow cooker over the pineapple base.  Cover with several paper towels and cook on high for 1.5 hours.  Don't open the lid until cooking nearly finished.  Turn onto serving plate while still very warm so the topping doesn't stick to the base of the pot.

Serve the pineapple upside down cake with a dab of cream or ice cream for a dessert or just warmed up with a cup of tea or coffee.

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New Crock Pot present

NewCrockPotI was given a new crock pot by my friend - please see the pic to the left.  To find a toy crock pot must mean that they are considered an ordinary part of the kitchen.

It only has an off-and-on button so it is a basic model :)   I wonder if you can get a programmable one?  It already has food in it and must be the vegetarian model.  It's fortunate that I like carrots, broccoli and zucchini.

Note though the words on the front though of  'smart home' and I suppose that says it all.  All smart homes should have a crock pot.  The switch does work and the little vegetables move up and down when the switch is on the 'on' position.

My friend has a good sense of humor and I am thankful that I have such a friend.  This is just a bit of fun and life and cooking should be fun.

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