Who said slow cookers are just for stews and casseroles? Here are some uncommon ways to get the most out of your slow cooker.
Store-bought yogurt often comes with preservatives and added sugar. You have control over ingredients and thickness when you make your own in a slow cooker. Heat some milk, let it cool, add yogurt culture and let the fermentation process do its thing. That process is needed for developing flavor and probiotics and it’s consistent and foolproof with the steady low heat of a slow cooker. Your yogurt turns out healthier and costs less than what you find at the store!
Infused oils can turn a simple dish into a masterpiece. Imagine serving spaghetti aglio e olio with homemade garlic-infused olive oil. Put your ingredients—oil and herbs—in the slow cooker, set it on low, and let it go. The slow and steady heat promotes thorough infusion without burning the delicate herbs. And it’s not just for cooking; you can make infused oil-based natural beauty products, too. Think lavender-infused coconut oil as a skin salve. There are so many possibilities!
Are you craving a golden, buttery delight? Caramel can be tricky to make on a stovetop, with a high risk of burning that delicate mixture of sugar, butter, and cream. A slow cooker offers a failsafe method, allowing the sugar and butter to meld perfectly. Imagine dipping apple slices into your homemade caramel or drizzling it over ice cream or a pancake!
Intimidated by the thought of roasting? Slow cooker to the rescue! The juices are retained as the bird cooks, leaving you with a tender, pull-apart chicken you’ve seasoned perfectly. Not only that, the leftover broth can be used for sous or gravy.
Forget preservatives and added sugar. Throw in some peeled and chopped apples with a touch of cinnamon and let your slow cooker transform them into a velvety, naturally sweet applesauce.
A slow cooker excels in melding flavors over time, so it’s perfect for hearty and flavorful soups. Combine vegetables, broth, and protein and cook low and slow. The long, slow cooking time allows for the ideal flavor combination, whether for a hearty beef stew or a creamy butternut squash soup.
Say goodbye to the morning rush. Just mix oats, milk, fruit, and a dash of honey in your slow cooker and set it on low before going to bed. You’ll wake up to a pot of creamy, perfectly cooked oats.
The aroma of spices and wine filling the air can make for a cozy winter night. Start by putting red wine, spices, and your preferred sweetener in the slow cooker earlier in the day. Set it on low and let it simmer for a few hours. The slow cooker provides even heat that allows full extraction of the flavors without the alcohol burning off too quickly. Wrap up in a cozy blanket or pull up a chair by the fireplace and enjoy!
Our pups deserve the best. We should know what goes into their food, too. Slow-cooked meals are the answer. Put lean protein, vegetables, and grains (whatever combo is right for your furry friend) in the slow cooker, set it on low, and let it cook for a few hours. Slow-cooked meals can be the balanced, preservative-free nutrition you feel good about and your pet will love!
Tired of those weird, synthetic air fresheners? Just put a mix of dried herbs, flowers, and citrus peels in a slow cooker with some water. Then set it on low for a few hours, and you’ll be delighted with the result. Slow cooking releases the natural scents from your ingredients, and your potpourri will make your home smell like an actual garden.
Do you think making candles must be complicated? It’s simple to get started with your slow cooker, plus making your own candles lets you choose the scents and colors you love. Not only that, the slow cooker gives you a safe way to melt wax—no fire hazard! First, put the wax in a heatproof container, then place it in a slow cooker filled with water. Set it on low and let the wax melt. Add fragrant oils to the melted wax and then pour the mixture into a candle mold with your appropriately placed wick. After the wax cools, remove your candle from the mold and enjoy your beautiful creation.
Gardeners, rejoice! Sterilizing soil eliminates pests and weeds. So go ahead and collect your compost, peat moss, or other organic matter, and use your slow cooker before you plant. Put your soil components in the slow cooker with a bit of water, set it on low, and heat for a few hours. The even heat distribution will kill pathogens and other unwanted interlopers (weeds!), leaving you with the perfect soil for your delicate seedlings.
Homemade soaps are a simple luxury made even better when you are sure they do not contain unwanted chemicals. The saponification process allows oils to react with lye to produce soap and is made consistent in a slow cooker. Just put your choice of oils, lye, and water in your cooker, set it on low, and let it heat for a few hours. When your soap is at a consistency you like, pour it into molds to cool and solidify. Soon enough, you'll be pampered with luxurious soap tailored just for you!
Homemade, clean skincare products are becoming more and more popular. And just like with soap, you don’t want all kinds of mysterious, unpronounceable chemicals on your body. You can make naturally moisturizing lotion bars that contain coconut oil, beeswax, shea or cocoa butter, and essential oils (lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint) right in your slow cooker. Add your ingredients, set it on low for several hours to melt everything together (mixing occasionally), and then pour into molds or muffin tins to cool and solidify. The lotion bars are solid at room temp but melt in contact with your skin. Clean beauty, no mess!
Need something to entertain the kids? Playdough is a classic solution! Throw some flour, salt, water, and vegetable oil in your slow cooker, set it to low, and stir occasionally. In about an hour, the mixture will thicken enough to pull away from the sides of the pot. Allow it to cool enough to handle, separate portions, and mix in food coloring for a rainbow of fun. Feeling adventurous? Have the kids help you make it, too!
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