New York Times bestselling author, slow cooking expert and mommy blogger next door
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Frequently Asked "A Year of CrockPotting" Questions

Frequently Asked Questions sections always seem so impersonal to me, but after a year, I can honestly say that most days I answer the following questions. At least once.

Happy New Year!

Thank you for sticking with me throughout my year-long challenge! If you'd like to see all of the recipes from 2008 in order, here they are.

If you'd like the Table of Contents for the entire site (there are over 600 recipes), here you go.

This is the 1st "Frequently Asked Question" post I've written. I've also written Part 2 and a Troubleshooting post.

How do I print out recipes?

At the bottom of each recipe there is a small "print recipe" button. Click on that, then choose your desired font size. You can decide to omit all of the pictures. 

What happened to all the food?
We ate it, and shared with friends and family. We now have a very nicely stocked freezer.

What's up with the gluten free?
My youngest daughter has Celiac, and we have decided as a family to all eat gluten free while at home. If you are gluten free, please check all food labels yourself. Food manufacturers change ingredients often, and without warning. If you do not need to worry about gluten, ignore my notes and use the food brands you are comfortable with. You can read more about our gluten free story, here.

Do you travel with your slow cooker?
Yes. Bringing along a slow cooker when traveling ensures that your food is allergen-free and also saves a ton of money.

Did you save money this year?

No. We spent a lot on groceries this year because of the nature of the challenge. I cooked much more food than our family needed, and tried fancier ingredients/spices than I would have in a normal year. I figured this would happen and budgeted accordingly. Most people save a bunch of money by using the slow cooker, though. Here's an article on how to save money by using the slow cooker.

How much weight did you gain this year?

8 pounds. Thank you for asking.

Was your family annoyed at you?
No, not at all. My family is and always has been incredibly supportive of all my endeavors. This really turned into a family project. My kids, husband, parents, brother, grandparents, father-in-law, and friends have all given recipes or recipe ideas. They've also enjoyed eating the food!

How did you get on the Rachael Ray Show?

I emailed the show.

Why are the comments moderated? Did you get a nasty commenter?
Sort of. A reader got me on a bad day and I didn't like what he wrote (he said that my food looked like slimy green poop and that I should take a photography class). He was right---the photo was horrid, but it still hurt my feelings. I've had the moderation on since, and I'm happy with it because I need to actually read (more carefully than before) comments and respond to questions.

Do you have any resolutions for 2009?
Yes. I'd like to stop biting my nails, complete Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred, get the side yard rocks moved to where they should go (or get Adam to do it), start and maintain a blog for Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life, begin a garden gnome collection, and not stress out so much.

I'm worried about the not stressing so much.

How do you come up with your recipes?

I have the best readers in the world, and they send me new recipes every day. I've got a ton bookmarked that I haven't been able to test out yet. I also read a bunch of food blogs through BlogHer and watch Food TV. I also make stuff up. Sometimes it doesn't work.

I need to cook something for a group of people and it needs to be super-easy.
Taco Soup. It's always a hit.

Will you keep the site up?

Yes. It will live on in cyberspace, and I'll update about once a week indefinitely.

What kind of slow cooker do you use?
updated 11/12: I now use the Ninja Cooking System full-time. Here is a write-up about the Ninja, and here are the other slow cookers I recommend

Are you going to still use your slow cooker(s) a lot?
Yes. I will continue to use my slow cookers probably daily (maybe almost daily), because that's the only way I really know how to cook! My kids are looking forward to me making some of their favorites again (especially brown sugar chicken, fish chowder, and 5-layer brownies), and I have a bunch of other recipes saved I'm dying to test out.

I also woke up to this last week, and am desperate to crank it up:

The Crock-Pot Trio. Thank you, Santa!

Will there be a book?

Yes. Make it Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking will contain over 300 tried-and-true gluten free slow cooker recipes, and will be published by Hyperion. It will hit bookstores everywhere on October 13, 2009.

But that's not my question!

Email me. contact AT stephanieodea DOT com

Thank you. Thank you for helping me to make 2008 one of the best years of my life. I could not have persevered without the daily hand-holding from all of you.
My eyes well with tears when I go through and read the heartfelt comments you've left----you are all truly amazing.

Thank you so much. Happy New Year. 2009 is going to rock. I promise.

Need more? Read Frequently Asked Questions, Part II!
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Becky said...

Thank you for this blog, I have enjoyed following along and have enjoyed many of your recipes! Best to you and your family in 2009!

Dorothy said...

I hope the book is very successful for you! The blog was a "must read" for me all year. I've really enjoyed the recipes and getting to know you and your family. Best wishes to you in 2009!

Lauren said...

Stephanie, I have truly enjoyed reading your blog. You have inspired more than a few meals over the last few months (I discovered you too late!). That said, I am THRILLED that you will be putting out a cookbook and can't wait to buy it!!
Enjoy your break from the crock and have fun in Disney!

Patty Honeycutt said...

I have very much enjoyed your web site, and I have used several of your recipes! I like your writing style too! Thanks for living the site up and running. I will be using it in the future! God bless you!
Patty Honeycutt

Sister Cooks said...

I know I am just echoing everyones responses to this post, but thank you very much for all these recipes, the candid responses, and your promise that you will continue to update the blog so that we are all privy to your wonderful recipes! Thank you very much and I look forward to all future recipes!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all your work. This has been my favorite blog this year and I'll miss it.

gfcfmom said...

You are amazing...what is the Totally Together Organizational Journal??? I NEED that desperately, when will it be available? Thanks for the great blog.

Jennifer said...

I have recommended your site to a bunch of friends. I love your sesnse of humor and perseverance. Best wishes for 2009. This is an awesome site and I look forward to your weekly updates. I'm already feeling withdrawals symptoms.

Rishma said...

I just wanted to say thanks so much for all your recipes! I come here about once a week and find a recipe to try in my crockpot and it's usually a hit! Thanks again and good luck on your future endeavors!

Angela said...

I just discovered this blog, do you always put meat (chicken) in the crock thawed or do you ever do it frozen, like the brown sugar chicken?

Aliecat said...

I just saw that you resolved to stop biting your nails. As a long time nail biter, I've found that (if you can afford it) weekly or bi-weekly manicures for a few months really helps to cut the urge to bite. Don't feel silly the first time at the manicurist if they're really short, just let them know that you're trying to stop from biting them. If you can't get to the manicurist, try keeping them painted and invest in some nice cuticle and hand cream. I've found that spending a little money and effort on your nails is a better deterrent than that bad tasting stuff could be.

Of course, once they've gotten really long, I tend to bite them all off and have to start over!

Amanda Lenz said...

I just thought that I would let you know that I have been following your blog since about August and am just now commenting... perfect timing. I moved to South Korea at the end of July and found my kitchen completely inadequate: no oven and a device that could hardly be called a stove. I found a brand new (still in the box) crockpot at a nearby second hand store and bought it. I loved my crockpot back home in the states but now it was like a neccessity because I really had nothing else to cook with. Anyway, I checked your blog daily and had a great time trying a lot of the dishes you prepared and can't wait to try more!!! Thanks so much, Amanda

Susan said...

Thank you for your site!!! Loved it!

Lisa said...

I just found you and you're done!! Oh no! Looking forward to trying many of your recipes and hoping you will do something new in 2009 because I love your writing.

Sherri said...

I just found your blog a few months ago and I have really enjoyed it! I especially like your funny comments on how much your family did (or did not) like your food. Thanks for the ideas and the fun!

TheRetroHousewife said...

Love the idea of a gluten free crockpot book! How in the world did you go about finding a publisher?

Harper said...

I just found your blog through a link on Wendy Knits and I'm bummed I didn't find it sooner. I'm sure I'll have fun searching your archives although I plan on making that black-eyed pea soup first!

I wanted to pass along a tip that helped me stop biting my nails. Everybody is different, of course, but I found that I really bit my nails because I needed to groom them. In other words, my nails split, peel, and break and my cuticles get dry and cracked and that's when I find my fingers in my mouth trying to even out a raggedy nail but then I can't stop gnawing them. So, for the past 10 years I have been diligent about keeping my nails trimmed short and immediately getting out the clippers or nail file to repair any torn or rough spots. I still have the occasional need to resort to the incisors but I find I really don't need to bite my nails even when I'm stressed if there isn't any roughness etc to worry.

Congratulations on your upcoming book.

Crockpot Lady said...

Thank you, Harper!
I think you're absolutely right. On similar advice, I got a pretty pink nail file and the beauty salon, and am keeping it with me, and I've found it's really keeping me motivated to keep my hands away from my mouth. I'm twelve days in, and my nails are longer than they've been in quite some time, and I hope with regular grooming they will thicken up a bit.


GFE--gluten free easily said...

Terrific FAQ!! Thanks again so much for this year! Last, but not least, I must have that crockpot trio for my upcoming Valentine's Day party!! I had no idea it existed--way cool! All the best, Shirley

GFE--gluten free easily said...

I forgot to comment on your upcoming book ... I do not buy GF cookbooks typically, but I will buy yours because it uses regular ingredients and I already know I love all the recipes! xo, Shirley

Rachel R. said...

Y'know, I hate crockpots. I have never been happy with much of anything - beyond roast - that I have made in my crockpot. But I think that your blog has changed my mind. (Not totally sure yet - my crockpot has been in storage due to a move in the months since I discovered your blog.) Even if not, I've enjoyed reading your blog every day. The recipes sound terrific, and your sense of humor always makes my day. :) Best wishes on your goals for 2009!

Christina said...

HA, I read the FAQs before asking (no BEGGING) that you keep the site up forever. I just found your site in December and I'm having a great time catching up. Congrats on making your goal! I thank you and so does my family. Looking forward to your book. It's already on my wish list for next Christmas. Best of luck!

Traci Sue, the granola girl said...

You are a lovely person and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping this blog. Your kindness and happiness has made reading about all of the recipes just that much better.

Jana said...

Wow-sticking with this for one year is amazing!!! I am so impressed. I have enjoyed the recipes and appreciate all your hard work!

RookieMom Heather said...

congrats on making it through your big challenge! I'm trying to do the 30 day shred myself.

katlw2 said...

I loved your blog-your writing style is entertaining, and I have your site bookmarked for recipes until the book comes out. Sign me up for a copy!

janel said...

I WILL buy your book. For sure. Thanks for an amazing blog.

nikki/WhiMSy love said...

I didn't even know a triple crockpot existed!
I just got a nice big ole red crockpot for Christmas & I'm so excited to have found your blog & try some of the recipes out!

Michele said...

I just discovered your blog and am already cooking and laughing my way through it. I can't wait to highlight your blog on my own: Thanks for wonderful recipes and a sense of humor for busy families. I look forward to your book.

The Dyer Family said...

my sister just sent me your blog today, and i can't wait to try some of these recipes. i will definitely share this blog with my friend with celiac. she will be most grateful!!

Jodi said...

I looked for this answer, I really did, but I just can't find it. (Of course that doesn't mean you didn't have it... but I promise I did try!) Is my crock pot lid supposed to form a seal? I can just tell that it's not sitting down snuggly on the crock pot and I'm wondering if I need to put some foil in between the pot and the lid. I've got your chicken parmesan recipe going for my inlaws tonight. What do you think?


Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Jodi,
lol, no worries about asking a question! Some of my crocks seal well and a lot of condensation builds up on the lid, and some don't seal well at all. I even have one that has a vent hole in it.

I prefer the tight-seal, and have started to put a layer of foil over the crock stoneware, and then the lid to keep moisture in if the lid I'm using appears wobbly. For the chicken parmesan, I'd do the foil to keep the chicken moist and the sauce juicy.


Tiffany said...

Do you have a top ten list you could post?

Ruth said...

Excited that you got the crockpot trio. I did, too! Have been searching how to use it to cook a full meal - side, main and dessert. Found your site while searching and think I will be able to find some recipes to use. thanks!

Rachel Meyers said...

Thank you so much it's so hard to find good slow cooker recipes that are gluten free. I reference your blog daily most of the time!

leeannshuntington said...

Have you used the crockpot trio and what do you think of it?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi LeeAnn,

I have used the Trio---quite a bit! I like the way it cooks---it does just fine, and I like having 3 things at once going, and it's fantastic for entertaining.

2 things:

1)every crock has a piece missing from it, so serving spoons can rest nicely while the lid is on. This is great for serving, but not for cooking. You will need to fold a wedge of foil to fill the gap while cooking or your food will dry out and risk burning.

2) the cord is ridiculously short. I guess they worry about strangulation or something, but I find it annoying, and add a small extension cord while in use, and so I can move it to the buffet table.

I do really like this toy!

xoxo steph

Rabbit said...

Any suggestions to what would be good bakeware which would fit inside a 4 quart round and a 6 quart round slow cookers for each of those sizes I may have to mail order and would like to avoid hassle of returning it. Second question -- Do people use trivets inside slow cookers?

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