Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spoiler Alert - You Don't Need a Crockpot!

I realize, that once again, I'm broaching a topic that might get me killed like Karen Silkwood.

But the truth must be told, and it's my lot in life to tell it.

Despite what Pinterest says, you don't need a crockpot.

(Try to hold yourself together. I'll wait.)

My poor friend Vicki - who owns like 20 crockpots and has amazing crockpot parties, is having a heart attack right now. However, at her parties, she actually cooks like 12 different kinds of chili, each in their own crockpot. So Veee has a permanent, transferable lifetime crockpot exception to what I'm about to tell you.

I have a very tiny kitchen with the smallest amount of cabinets humanly possible. About 50% of the cabinet space is unreachable, which is a rant I'll indulge myself in later.

It's actually one of the reasons I like my kitchen - because it's open to the breakfast area and living room which is fun and makes it the brightest space in the house. And thankfully, I'm very anti-appliance so that helps.

But for a long time, I had a very nice crockpot. It was a huge one - I raved about it here - where I also shared my amazing pea soup recipe.

I followed all the Pinterest crockpot boards, the Crockin' Girls on Facebook, and regarded my crockpot as the magical shrine the internet told me it was.

Until I realized that that particular emperor has no clothes.

A crockpot is a large baking dish to which heat is applied.

That is all. There are no little fairies that make it cook your food more perfectly than the oven does. It's a baking dish that gets warm. People have been getting baking dishes warm for a long time.

So I tested all my favorite crockpot recipes in a baking dish in the oven to test my theory. For the record, the temperatures I use are 200 for low, 300 for high. That's it. Covered baking dish.

Here are the recipes I used, and each came out perfectly. One of these we eat nearly weekly - the Thai chicken.

Split Pea Soup
Mac and Geez
Whole Chicken
Thai Peanut Chicken
Crockpot shredded chicken

I have a start/stop timer on my oven so I can set it and forget it like the crockpot, and don't even start with me about the oven being more of a fire hazard than a crockpot. Everything that has power to it is a fire hazard. Your compost pile is a fire hazard. Let's not worry so much.

So I've reclaimed about 6 square feet of space in my cabinet with this revelation after selling my crockpot on Facebook.

I do still have my American-made 360 Cookware vapor seal cooker though. This little thing is amazing for smaller sides or prep work. It's so hard to find American made cookware, and so I was thrilled to find this after emptying my kitchen of all Chinese products after Spotty died. You can use it on their base or directly on the stove, so it's a multi-tasker.

But speaking of machines, I DO have a magic machine to tell you about.

This week at Splitcoast we had a Product Focus on Epson's scrapbooking printers. Lori got to play with the printer and told me to pick something to print on "anything I wanted." Now a few years ago I had taken a class with Golden where we ran ALL SORTS of things through Epson inkjet printers - fabric, canvas, even big things with sticks and other rough textures using Golden digital grounds. So I knew they could do amazing things. But one thing I'd never tried is cold press watercolor paper. So I sent her a free printable floral and dared her to print it in a light grey on cold press watercolor paper and send it to me to paint.

It worked like a charm! Up and down over all the texture, every section of the image was not only perfectly inked but waterproof.

AND, Lori has a great tip on how to test your printer ink for compatibility with Copics on her blog - I never knew this until this week. So smart.

So I just watercolored most of the image in Winsor & Newton Cotman Payne's Grey and then did one flower in blue and added a greeting from the Greetings Thinlits.

Epson Surecolor test by Understandblue
Pin It

One of the most common questions we get in the forums on Splitcoast is printer ink compatibility with different mediums, so it was very cool to see what all this printer could do.

Now I have some important breaking news for you.

Paper Pumpkin is celebrating both its birthday and the shipment of the MILLIONTH kit! So they are doing a little giveaway - if you are already a Paper Pumpkin subscriber or sign up to be one before April 10th, you will get an EXTRA, exclusive stamp set in the April kit! I can't wait to see what it is! You can buy a pre-paid subscription, or a monthly subscription, which can be paused and re-started. Subscribe with me here and get a little surprise in the mail! :)

And if you want to get your paws on one of Shannon West's #imbringingbirthdaysback stamps, just purchase the ULTIMATE bundle before March 31st, and I'll send you one!

Until the end of March, you'll get $155 worth of whatever you want for $99. You'll also get to attend my team retreat in July, which my celebrity chef is returning for. We are all looking forward to her amazing food! Oh, and the stamping I guess :).

And one last thing - recently I've gotten several orders where the customer chose "No Contact" - which means no information is shared with me at all - I don't get your name, your email address, nothing that allows me to thank you or send you a card. This makes me sad. So please know that I appreciate you and would love to send you a card! Feel free to email me if you were one of these. And in the future, click "Yes" on the second question here to let me thank you with a card :).

 So go forth into your weekend, free of crockpots, reveling in your spacious cabinets and full of stampy joy.

We will have a quiet Easter weekend as I prepare for my Salt Lake retreat and OnStage - are you coming? If so I am looking forward to stamping with you!



  1. Crockpots aren't esential, but a pressure cooker is. Love how your blue rose looks.

  2. Doesn't running your oven for hours heat up your house in hot, hot Texas?? I love my crockpot! And you don't like appliances, but you have that egg-cooker thingie that has been sitting in my "Save for Later" Amazon cart since the first time you mentioned it on your blog! :-) :-)

    moot96 AT aol DOT com (I don't use the gmail address)

  3. Have to agree with your crock pot theory. Now that printer sounds like something I want to look into! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks for the recipes Lydia, and how to adapt them to the oven. Much appreciated. Have printed off the thai chicken on.
    (Beautiful blue rose card!)



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