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Santa’s Little Helper

At least in our house, the major helper as I prepare for Christmas is right here.


Yes, it is the crock pot. Without it, trying to accomplish all the decorating, cleaning, baking, writing cards and wrapping presents would be quite a bit more complicated.

I have to admit, I didn’t use my old crock pot very much. With my long work hours, I wasn’t able to time things for them to be ready when I got home. They usually were mush after my eleven hours out of the house. Working in DC meant long days.

I have pretty much perfected the timing these days. Get everything out of the freezer by nine. Crock pot started before ten. A six hour cooking on high setting, with the warming function keeping dinner warm until we are ready to eat about six.

Soups are the best thing to make using items from my freezer. Add a jar of chicken stock, some tomatoes maybe, whatever protein works best and then fill in from the CSA veggies.

I have a tag in the blog. Crock pot soups. Lots of variations using some very basic items.

Any sort of greens from the CSA will make a very good base for soups. Like the kale from last week.


A pint of stock. A couple of ham bones from Copper Penny Farm. A couple of cans of organic cannellini beans. A few carrots, some celery and an onion. That’s all you need to make bean soup for dinner. Oh, salt, pepper, garlic powder.

If you get really busy during the holiday season, consider using that crock pot to make some rich flavorful soups. So far this week I have made three different soups. When the temperatures get down below freezing at night, soups, stews and chili are our favorite meals.

A collection of some of the best I have made.

Grandma’s Tomato Soup
Navy Bean Soup
Freezer Clean Out Sausage Soup
Venison Chili

super bowl 2 006

The possibilities are endless. Break out that crock pot and make dinner the easy way.


About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

2 responses »

  1. Sounds so good! Those automatic crock pots are really nice!

  2. I need to make stock in my crock pot–then I’ll have stock for the soups! My stash of stock materials (bones and the Soup Packs of veggies) are piling up in the freezers.
    This morning on a walk to the local grocery store for the paper I picked up a stocking stuffer that is my new santa’s little helper–a juicer thingy. It fits over a glass, with holes to drain into the glass, and I made a tiny dent in the case of juice oranges using it to make a quart of freshly squeezed juice. I saved the pulp (because . . . why not?) and froze it in an ice cube tray. I’m not sure if that will go in smoothies or in the guinea pig’s bowl. She’s already got frozen cubes of what was left in the food mill when we were canning tomatoes.
    Anyway–thanks for the inspiration!


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