What a Crock!

I’ve somehow never jumped on the slow cooker bandwagon. I inherited a smaller one from a friend many years ago, and it was always too small for most standard recipes – and an awkward size for halving them. My impatience and frustration earned it a spot deep in the back of our cabinet. (Pretty sure it’s still hanging out in there.) A crockpot always seemed like overkill when cooking for two, anyway.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago, when RF and I were suffering through yet another “what’s for dinner?” convo. Since his dad has been staying with us, the conversation has become more nuanced. How many nights in a row can we have tacos? (Our preference.) Or, cheeseburgers. (His.) Shouldn’t there be some vegetables?? (Eh.)

We are, like everyone, always busy. All good intentions of preparing dinner quickly go down the drain. So, in a moment of desperation, I broke down and ordered a Crockpot. Amazon’s best seller. I had a gift card that rendered the experiment practically free. So, why not?! Today, I finally gave it a trial run.

Where does one turn when deciding their first slow cooker recipe? Well, Pinterest, of course. But that was WAY too overwhelming for a beginner! So, I went old school. Martha.

As it turns out, a LOT of slow cooker recipes require more prep than I expected. Martha, however, delivered the perfect simple-prep meal: Slow Cooker Beef and Tomato Stew. It calls for sautéing the mirepoix, but RF doesn’t like his veggies “falling off the bone” (aka mushy), so I just dumped those chopped veggies straight into the bowl and let the Crockpot go to work.

Veggies…sliced and diced and straight in the pot.

I opted for San Marzano tomatoes to maximize the flavor.

Good old stew beef.

A little salt and pepper, plus a quick stir.

It’s off and running!

And so was I! While everything cooked, I ran away to Leavenworth to leaf peep with my friend Bubba.

Only one problem…that embarrassing moment I realized we were running out of gas!! Doh.

Thanks to the complete kindness of a total stranger, and a little more gas in the tank than the readout suggests, we made it to Gas Save just in time!

And then, we were back on the road…

Leavenworth is a quirky Bavarian village in the Cascade mountains about 2 hours east of Seattle. It’s a little like visiting German Disneyland. Oompah music is piped from the gazebo and the center of town.

All of the buildings are chalet-themed.

So are the murals.

Basically, awfully awesome. 

We stopped at one of many a hofbrauhaus: Andreas Keller for brats, kassler kottlets, and fall brews – cider for me and grapefruit heffeweisen for my traveling partner. (He reports it’s delicious.)

Aww yeah! Prost!!

Stomachs full, we were ready to explore the town shops. Oh, the irony…

Given the Germanic theme, products were surprisingly ‘merican!

OK, there were a few hidden Alpine gems. Yodelayheehoooo!!!


We laughed our way all the way through town. Of course, Leavenworth is kind of like Vegas…best visited with a great friend for a short time. So, we headed home well before risking overload.

By this point, the clouds had rolled in, but all through Stevens Pass the fall leaves glowed yellow and orange between the towering pines.

And, what was waiting when I got home?! Dinner!! 

Wuuuut??? It’s a little early to officially commit, but I just might be a Crockpot convert. To be perfectly honest, this recipe could use some tweaking – herbs, spices, a little complexity of flavor. Alas, it was so easy, and a complete hit with the peanut gallery; so, I really cannot complain.

At the very least, I think it’s safe to say that you cxpect more slow cooking trials to come.  Das ist gut!


2 thoughts on “What a Crock!

  1. Pingback: Lazy Cooking for Lazy Days | year of months

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