Monday, November 9, 2009

1 Thing to Help Manage the Holiday Stress!

It's November and the holidays are just around the corner. The holidays are so much fun, but they can bring on a lot of stress in our lives if we aren't careful. Why? Because at this time of year, demands start coming in from everywhere! Your kiddos will have multiple parties, plays, sports events and many other things expected of them at school. Which means you will have numerous things to prepare for whether it's just attending the event or baking cookies for everyone in the class. If that isn't enough, you also have to get your Christmas shopping done, attend various parties of your own, find time to prepare for family gatherings and dinners and continue your normal day-to-day activities!

While we're in the midst of it all, we find ourselves being stretched to the limit and wondering, who has time for this? The truth is nobody does! While there is no way to completely eliminate the holiday stress because there will always be school events, holiday parties and extended family to deal with, I have discovered that if I do one thing, I will have more time to concentrate on all the other stuff.

What is it? Dusting off the crock-pot and making a home for it on my kitchen least for the next 3 months! The crock-pot is an amazing invention and though I hate the space it takes to store it for most of the year, I absolutely LOVE it at this time of the year. There are so many recipes out there specifically designed for your slow cooker, all you have to do is find them and put it to use! I promise that you will love freeing up the time you would normally spend preparing dinner. Some of my favorite dishes to cook in it are: Gumbo, BBQ Pork Chops and a yummy Southwestern Chicken dish!

This morning I broke out the crock-pot and am trying my hand at Potato Soup! Judging from the smell wafting throughout my house, I haven't messed it up yet. I have included the recipe below if Potato Soup sounds good to you!

3.5 lbs. potatoes, peeled & cut into cubes
1/2 C. chopped yellow and/or red sweet pepper
minced garlic to taste
1/2 t. ground black pepper
4.5 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. whipping cream or half-and-half
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 C. thinly sliced green onions - optional

1. Combine potatoes, sweet pepper, garlic and black pepper in a 4-6 quart slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
3. Mash potatoes slightly with a potato masher. Stir in whipping cream, cheddar cheese and onions. Serve! Makes 8 servings

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