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A Heart For Home: November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Make It Fast, Cook It Slow Cookbook Review & Giveaway

I've always thought of fall and winter as the season of the Crock-Pot. However, that isn't really accurate since many people, like Stephanie O'Dea, author of Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, create delicious dishes in these kitchen servants year-round.

If you've been around the blogging world very long you've probably heard of Stephanie's blog, A Year of Slow Cooking. One of Stephanie's resolutions for 2008 was to use her slow cooker everyday for an entire year!

Thankfully, for the rest of us, Stephanie was able to complete this remarkable task. You can read all about her resolution here and browse through an alphabetical listing of her recipes here.

But wait, it gets even better! Stephanie has now compiled her delicious recipes into a giant slow cooking cookbook.

I received Stephanie's cookbook, Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, a couple of weeks ago and have already enjoyed making many delicious dishes in my Crock-Pot, such as Chile Verde, Asian Peanut Butter Pork, and even Pumpkin Pudding (a crustless pumpkin pie).

Stephanie's delicious recipes have definitely inspired me to use my Crock-Pot year-round. I've even added a weekly slow cooked meal to our meal plan and hope to incorporate even more dishes throughout the week to make dinner preparations easier.

Make It Fast, Cook It Slow is a huge, 400+ page, cookbook filled with wonderful recipes. It is well organized with recipes alphabetized under the following categories: beverages, appetizers, breakfast, baking, side dishes, beans, pasta & casseroles, soups & stews, seafood, poultry, meatless mains, meat, takeout fake-out, snacks & fondue, desserts, and fun stuff. In order to save on publication fees and to keep the purchase price of the book down, Stephanie opted not to include photos of the recipes. However, each recipe has been well documented on her website. As an added bonus, Stephanie's recipes are all gluten-free, but include substitutions for families who are not restricted by gluten.

This cookbook would make a great gift for any cook (including yourself). With a list price of only $19.99 this book is also an affordable gift option for this holiday season. Right now you can purchase this cookbook through our Amazon store for only $11.69. Make It Fast, Cook It Slow is also eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Make It Fast, Cook It Slow can also be ordered from Barnes & Noble, Borders, Powell's Books, and Indie Bound.

{disclaimer: the links provided in this post are affiliate links}

Now for the Giveaway!

Stephanie has generously offered a copy of her new cookbook to one fortunate reader.

To Enter This Giveaway:

1) Head on over to Stephanie's blog and leave her a comment telling her you're visiting from A Heart for Home. Then browse around and find a recipe you'd like to try. Finally, come back here and leave a comment on this blog telling us what recipe caught your attention.

You can gain additional entries by doing any or all of the following.

~ Place our button on your blog (include a link to your blog in your comment) Simply copy the code under our button and paste it into the text box for a Html Gadget on your blog's layout.

~ Subscribe to or follow our blog (let us know if you've already subscribed or followed).

~ Post about this giveaway on your blog or tweet about it (leave us a link in your comment).

Please leave a separate comment for each entry!

This giveaway will end on Tuesday, December 15th (my birthday)at 12 Midnight EST. We will choose a winner through random generator.

Make sure you leave a way for us to contact you!

Please help spread the word about Stephanie's new cookbook and this giveaway!

Make It Fast, Cook It Slow Works for Me!
For more Frugal Friday finds visit Life As Mom.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We hope that you are able to spend today with those who are dear to your heart and that your thoughts will be brought to the one who gives all good gifts.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." ~ James 1:17

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Spy Quilt Kit Winner!

Comment # 3 from Kristin is our winner of the awesome I Spy Quilt Kit from Sew Together.


If you didn't win, but would still love to make your own I Spy Quilt please visit Sew Together to get this wonderful set for only $13. Or purchase a custom made I Spy Quilt from Sew In Love.


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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Meal Planning & Theme Nights

Since our move at the end of August, I've been struggling to get back into meal planning.

It's not that I don't see the benefits of meal planning, in fact I've experienced them first hand. I've also seen what happens when I don't plan: higher grocery bills, more frequent trips to the store, less healthy meals, and the after nap scramble to get a meal on the table.

So, about 3 weeks ago I finally carved out time during the kids' afternoon naps to get a plan on paper.

I decided to try theme nights to make my monthly meal planning easier. Here are the themes we're using now.


Sunday~Crock-Pot (this is actually for lunch since that is our big meal on Sundays)

Monday~Asian/Main Dish Salad

Tuesday~Italian

Wednesday~Mexican

Thursday~Soup/Fish

Friday~American/Breakfast

Saturday~Chef's Choice (we often share meals with another family on Saturdays because Tim is off from work, so we reserve this night for new recipes or whatever we'd like to make for company)
With themes, I've found it easy to plug in our favorite recipes as well as new ones without having to worry about having the same thing too often.

It's also easy to plan meals according to the activities of the week. For example, on a busy Tuesday a quick dinner of spaghetti or pizza can be planned to fulfill our Italian theme instead of a more time consuming manicotti or fettuccine alfredo.

For more on meal planning with nightly themes check out these resources:

Simplifying Meal Planning :: Passionate Homemaking



List of Theme Nights for Easy Meal Planning :: List Plan It



Meal Planning Resources :: Simple Mom

Do you meal plan? Why or why not? What do you think about meal planning with nightly themes? Would you like the structure or feel too limited? If you've posted about meal planning on your blog, be sure to share the link with us.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Baby Is A ... (drumroll please)...

Girl!

We are officially expecting a little girl and we are all very excited. This last ultrasound went well and all of the baby's organs are present and functioning properly. She is measuring a bit on the lighter side, but since our other two were fairly small I guess we just have small babies.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers!

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