Crockpot coconut veggie chili, vegetable stew, and cooking & tossing with toddler
It's a most wonderful, wild, stressful and sweet, fantastic and frantic time of the year, and there's really no time for anything. Certainly not for quick and slapdash posts like this one. But I love and rely on recording recipes, even the not-really-recipes lists, because my crowded brain is in danger of forgetting meals to make in minutes if I don't write them down. (Is that Mommy brain, still? Fingers crossed it is--I'd much rather that than any alternative explanation I can think of right now!) Most of all, though, I wanted to share my favorite--for now--new cooking technique: it's called throw and toss crock, and it's a most productive game. For months we've been working on trying to find that balance of encouraging, informing, and ok, attempting to control and limit Little Monkey's fascination and growing skill when it comes to throwing. What used to be harmless has increasingly become borderline dangerous...he has AN ARM! He can hurl rather heavy objects with impressive force, gaining startling height and distance. Luckily the aim isn't completely precise yet, but it's getting there. We're a bit in awe...and while proud of our beaming little joyball's strength, there's ultimately some management that has to happen. The tough part with the throwing phase is, there are so many rules, and even if the logical mind was developed enough to fully receive, how could they be anything but confusing? Throw this, not that, here not there, with me not at me, at us not at doggie, soft not hard...
This week, oh how it brightened my morning when, running behind already, we were able to channel throwing into creating dinner. The key is: first to employ a learning tower or similar where toddler is safely stationed. Next, quickly chop assorted veggies that can be quickly chopped without trying the patience of the most important sous chef (gather these prior to bringing little one on board). Engage sous chef in systematically (or not) tossing/throwing chopped vegetables into crock pot with formidable sound effects as you complete whatever needs to be done with rapid, flowing movements. Turn crock on, clean up as is feasible, done until dinner.
The recipe that works best for this isn't really a recipe, but a guide is always helpful and you can be sure I'm using this again. It is basically this: chop and combine a whole bunch of vegetables (I used a turnip, butternut squash, sweet potato, onion, a couple gold potatoes, pre- chopped turnip greens on sale, about a cup worth of chopped mini carrots, a pepper and a zucchini) with a can of crushed and a can of diced tomatoes; add a shake of Italian seasoning, chili powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, and a dash each of salt and pepper. Add 4 cups water or broth. Slow cook on high 4 hours or low about 8 hours or however long until you can get down to dinner. Include beans or lentils if you like (I used chick peas). I know, not too interesting, but tasty and adaptable, and turning out something like this:
Since time is at a premium, however, and the above isn't exactly unique, I'm making this a twofer, and including a stew I made last week that I hope we will make (Little Monkey and I) together soon. It's a little more ambitious, but it's good, and we may get to play a little with shaking and rinsing beans, as long as we can keep them out of the mouth. Bonus, the coconut and other flavors meld together more the next day, so much so that you kind of get two dishes for one, kind of like this post. Happy busy days! :)
- 2 cups dried beans, rinsed and sorted (I used black, red kidney and garbanzo)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 medium apples, peeled and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on high heat for 4 to 6 hours (or on low for 8 hours).