Take it slow with Crock-Pots

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Lately while formulating recipes, I’ve been thinking outside the box about things to cook inside a crock—a Crock-Pot®, that is. To be technically accurate, I should say slow cooker as Crock-Pot® is a trademarked name brand and not a common name. In other words, a Crock-Pot® is a slow cooker, but not every slow cooker is a Crock-Pot®.

Although the Crock-Pot® was the first slow cooker, its inventor, Irving Naxon, originally called his device the Naxon Beanery. After a four-year wait, Naxon received his patent for his invention in 1940, according to CNET Magazine.

During his childhood, Naxon’s mother told him stories about how she helped prepare her family’s cholent, a thick bean stew traditionally eaten by Jews on the Sabbath. Since the Sabbath is the day of rest, observant Jews are forbidden to work.

Every Friday afternoon, she would take a pot of cholent to the village bakery and place it into the oven, where it would cook from the residual heat. Then, she would retrieve it at sundown the next day and bring it home for dinner.

His daughter Lenore Naxon stated in an online posting at www.beyondbubbie.com that her grandmother inspired her father’s invention.

“Dad remembered the story and was inspired to find a way to create a heating element that surrounded the pot in the same way that an oven would have,” she said. “He wanted to find a low cost, low electricity use solution.”

She said she remembered that during the 1950s and 1960s, her family had a Beanery in which they prepared potatoes, roasted corn, soups, and stews. In fact, her mother would cook old-fashioned oatmeal overnight so that they could enjoy a delicious hot breakfast in next morning.

During the early 1970s, Rival Manufacturing bought Naxon’s Beanery design, rebranded it, and marketed it as the Crock-Pot®. Its target audience was working women, who were told they could place food into it before leaving for work and return home to a cooked meal.

The idea of waking up in the morning to an already-prepared breakfast inspired me to create a new recipe for steel-cut oatmeal. My results were heavenly! Note: If doubling this recipe, a larger slow cooker, one with at least a 4-quart capacity, will be needed.

Slow-Cooker, Apple-Cranberry Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Ingredients:

                1 T. Organic coconut oil

                1/2 c. Steel-cut oats

                2 c. Apple juice

                1 Small Gala apple or other sweet apple, unpeeled

                1/2 c. Organic coconut palm sugar

                1/4 t. each Ground cinnamon and finely ground sea salt

                1/4 c. Dried cranberries

                1/4 c. Toasted nuts, optional

Directions:

Wash and pat dry apple. Using an apple corer, cut unpeeled apple into eight wedges. Then, cut each wedge into six pieces; set aside. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt oil. Add in oats and cook until golden, stirring continuously. Place oats into crock of a 2-quart slow cooker. Add in the remaining ingredients except nuts; stir to combine.

Cover crock with lid and cook Low for about 4-6 hours until oatmeal becomes soft and thick. When done, allow to rest for about 10 minutes. To each serving, sprinkle top with a tablespoon of toasted nuts, if using.

Yield: 3-4 servings.

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