These Are a Few of Katrina’s Favorite Things…

Like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, I happen to fancy the art of baking. I get my jollies by going to the local grocery store and taking my time walking up and down the isles, until I find the best deals for the best brands of fresh food. I am not a big fan of processed food (or “crap” as Jillian Michael’s calls it), so to me, I like to bake and cook from scratch most of the time. While others see nothing wrong with buying cookies and cupcakes, I prefer to bake them myself.

cookies

I started baking back when I was about 10 years old; after I checked out the All American Girl Cookbook from my local library. I immediately wanted to try Samantha’s Blueberry Muffins and Felicity’s Scones…you catch my drift. And there I was…not even a teenager, but I was washing fresh blueberries, sifting flour, and cracking eggs in a bowl. To this day, I LOVE to bake. I love the feeling of patting the homemade crust on the top of an apple pie, or sprinkling sugar into chocolate chip cookie dough. The smell that floats through the air as my banana nut bread bakes is one that not only makes my family all hover around the kitchen, but makes me eager to try a piece too.

Tonight after working a full day in the office, I came home and baked. And baked. And baked. I have a function the next evening and promised I would bake, so I did! chocolate chip-walnut cookies, Banana Walnut bread, and an apple pie. Yes, call me crazy, but it was fun! Although time-consuming, I enjoyed it and my treats look decadent and are just waiting to be gobbled up.

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Crocking Away…Tasty Turkey Chili

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Hello all! I am Katrina, and have been writing since I was 17, and have been interested in food since I was 15, and got my first “real” job, working in a bakery down the block from my high school. I however, like to cook and eat healthy 24/7. Yes, I will grab a slice of pizza every now and then, but why bother, when I can make my own on whole wheat dough, with low-fat cheese, low-sodium sauce, and turkey pepperoni? You catch my drift…I love food, and love to cook and bake…healthy…at home.

I am in love. With my crock pot. Not what you thought I was going to say, right? Well it’s true. I discovered this hidden gem in my kitchen cabinet not too long ago, and have been whipping up tasty turkey chili for my whole family ever since.

The machine literally is fool-proof. You prepare a meal in the morning, toss it in the slow cooker (crock pot, as I grew up calling it), and let it simmer all day until you get home from work. Because let’s be honest: who wants to cook chili after working an 8 hour day?

And that is just what I did today. I had to be at work at 9:30 so I got up a little after 7:30AM and sauteed my turkey chop meat in 2 TBS of olive oil on the stove. I broke it up with a fork, and then poured in a little bit of cumin and S+P to my liking. When that was almost all cooked, I transferred it over to the slow cooker, which I had plugged in and set to “Low for 8 Hours.”

I went back to my stove and poured another TBS of olive oil, and chopped up two small cloves of garlic, one small onion, and one green pepper and tossed those into the pan on the stove. Then I added in a can of cannelloni beans, a can of low-sodium diced tomatoes, and one can of low-sodium chicken broth. I let these ingredients simmer in the pan for about 5 minutes, before transferring it over to the crock pot.

Once I poured in the remaining ingredients, I mixed them together with the turkey chop meat. Then….that’s it! I put the lid on, and left for work, and left my trusted Hamilton Beach crock pot do the rest of the work. Now some people, (like my cousin) are convinced leaving a crock pot on all day while you go to work, is a sure way to start a fire. And yes, I was worried about this too at first. But then you realize, it will be fine. It is meant to be fine. And just for safe measure, I always clear the space around it, so it is the only appliance plugged into the wall at that particular unit, and I make sure no other appliance is rubbing up against it…give the crock some space 😉

And viola! You come home to a nice meal, that only took you 25 minutes of your morning to prepare. So dust off your cookbook, and invest in a crock pot. I guarantee soups and chili will never taste the same!