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What Would the Founding Fathers Think: A Young American's guide to understanding the mess our country is in and how we get out
Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel
Captive Heart
Cobble Cavern
Caller ID
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Protected,
Summer of Secrets
On Little Wings
We Lived in Heaven: Spiritual Accounts of Souls Coming to Earth
Christ's gifts to women
A Woman's power: threads that bind us to god
Scary School
Hope's journey
Blue
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
Venom
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head


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Friday, June 15, 2012

Review of 365 Days of Slow-Cooking by Karen Bellessa Petersen

Product Details:

  • Title: 365 Days of Slow-Cooking
  • Author: Karen Bellessa Petersen
  • Spiral-bound: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc; 1st edition (February 14, 2012)
  • Genre: Cookbook
  • ISBN-10: 1608618706
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608618705
  • FTC:FYI I received a review copy in
  • exchange for an honest review.





 Book Description:
Family dinner may be the most important part of the day, and for busy households, a slow-cooker may be the most important item in the kitchen! This volume of slow-cooker recipes offers easy instructions for creating appetizing meals that are prepared on your own time and served at just the right time. With 365 dishes that can be assembled in minutes, including dozens that require just two minutes or less, this collection is the perfect solution for hectic days and crowded schedules. Tempt your family's palate with favorite entrees like golden beef stroganoff and smothered pork chops, hearty side dishes like buttermilk mashed potatoes, and delectable desserts like hot fudge pudding cake. Perk up tired menus with ethnic delights from Thai peanut noodles to Greek pita folds, and find the perfect soup or stew to please a crowd with minimal prep time. Thanks to this user-friendly guide, dinnertime just got a lot more simple, and a lot more delicious.
My Review:
According to the beginning of the book, Karen at one time rarely used her slow-cooker. She soon started an experience of cooking every day with the slow-cooker. Her blog, 365DayofCrockpotblogspot.com started and from there her fans base grew. Then of course this cook book followed. This book is a gem among cookbooks out there.

Here are some of the things I loved about this cookbook:
-She has tips for slow-cooking like...
     **Buying a Slow-Cooker
     **Caring for and Cleaning a Slow-Cooker
     **How A slow-cooker works
     **Getting to Know your slow-cooker
     **Reducing Fat and what to do if food gets runny

-Variety of Recipes:
I loved the different categories that were included in this cookbook:
   **Appetizers
   **Beverages
   **Breads and Spreads
   **Breakfast
   **Beef Dishes
   **Poultry Dishes
   **Pasta Dishes and Sauces
   **Sides and Salads
   **Soups/Stews/Chili
   **Desserts

I was surprised by all of the things you really can cook in a slow-cooker, and I am by no means a novice at using a slow-cooker. I have used a slow-cooker a lot the past 20 years. So it was thrilling to see all of the new recipes and with such a great variety. 

Another thing I loved in this cookbook was how Karen had coded some of the recipes such as, a star by the recipes that are her personal favorites that she uses over and over again. She has a 2 minute prep box by the recipes that take 2 minutes or less to prepare. Then she has the ALL DAY circle by the recipes you use if you are going to be gone all day. For those of us that work full time, I was especially happy to see this!

When I was asked to review this cookbook, I decided to ask several friends, co-workers, neighbors and family members to help me in testing out recipes. Here are some of the responses I heard from "MY" testers...

"I love the simple and easy recipes. It didn't take long to throw everything together in the morning."

"I was so happy that my kids loved the recipes I tried! I need to buy this book now that I have found things that they'll eat."

"My favorite part of the recipes I tried is they only had a few ingredients AND they were things I had already in my pantry."

"The recipe I tried was yummy and easy to make."

For myself, I eat low-carb, and there were many things I was able to make for my eating style. I also echo what another Mom said above, I found things that my picky eaters at my house want me to make again. They loved the things I made.

With beautiful photographs, great variety of recipes, and easy prep time, this is a cookbook any busy woman/man will want to have on their shelf. I love the spiral bound book that stands by itself as I am putting things together in the crockpot. I can honestly say, out of all of the 6 slow-cooker cookbooks I own, hands down this is the best one out there! I will use these recipes over and over again.


You could read more about Karen and her recipes at http://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/

You can purchase 365 Days of Slow-Cooking here at Amazon and Deseret Book.

Here are some of Karen's favorite dessert recipes that you can bake in the crockpot.

CREAM CHEESE BROWNIES
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cup sugar, divided
2 eggs, divided
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoons vanilla, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1. In a medium bowl, beat butter, 1 cup sugar, and 1 egg until well blended. Stir in flour, salt, cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Pour into greased slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl with a mixer at low speed, beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until just mixed. Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. Drop dollops of cream cheese mixture on top of batter. Using the tip of a knife, lightly score the top surface to mix the cream cheese mixture in slightly.
3. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Makes 8 servings.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BARS
Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Cut a piece of waxed paper to fit the bottom and grease the waxed paper.
2. In a bowl, beat the butter, eggs, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
3. In a separate bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips until well blended.
3. Spoon the dough evenly into the slow cooker and smooth the top.
4. Cover and cook on LOW for about 3 hours, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
5. Set the lid slightly ajar. Turn off the heat and remove the insert from the slow cooker. Allow to cool in the insert for 30 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack; cut and serve.


HOT CARAMEL AND CHOCOLATE CAKE
Ingredients:
4 ounce cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg
2 8.2-ounce packages, chocolate chip muffin mix
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caramel ice-cream topping
1/2 cup water
Vanilla ice cream
1. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine cream cheese and milk. Cook on 50-percent power for 1 minute; remove and stir. Continue cooking for 30-second intervals until cream cheese melts; stir with wire whisk to blend.
2. Place cream cheese mixture in large bowl; stir in sour cream, cocoa powder, and egg. Mix well. Add both packages of muffin mix; stir just until combined.
3. Spray slow cooker with nonstick baking spray containing flour. Spread batter evenly in slow cooker.
4. In small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, ice-cream topping, and water; heat to boiling, stirring until blended. Carefully pour over batter in slow cooker. Do not stir.
5. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 1/2–3 hours or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
6. Uncover, turn off slow cooker, top loosely with foil, and let stand for 30 minutes. Gently run a sharp knife around the edges of the cake and invert over serving plate until cake drops out. If any sauce remains in slow cooker, spoon over cake. Cool for 30 minutes before serving.
7. Serve cake and sauce with vanilla ice cream.
Makes 8 servings.

About the Author:
 Karen Petersen is a stay at home mom who began her crockpot cooking adventures in January of 2009. 

"I like to make something that my husband will enjoy after a long day at work," Karen said. "He is my greatest fan."

She randomly cooked dinner in her slow cooker, something she seldom did as she only had one good slow cooker recipe.  She liked the freedom that came from having dinner done early in the day and was pleased when she didn't have to fight her 2 cranky kids at 5 p.m. while she  was trying to make dinner.  She decided to keep going with the slow cooker.  After 7 days of slow cooked meals she rashly made the decision to cook 365 slow cooker recipes over the course of 365 days.  She developed a blog to chart her progress and post the recipes, reviews and pictures.  At the end of the 365 days she compiled a cookbook, which she now sells (and uses all the time).  After her year was up she took a few weeks off and then continued developing new slow cooker recipes using the techniques she had learned over the year. Karen describes her cooking style as easy, tasty, made with simple ingredients, and food that her family will eat.

"I've cooked over 500 different recipes in my slow cooker over the past 2 years," Karen said. "I have learned a lot of different tips and techniques that can help anyone achieve slow cooking success! I often teach slow cooking classes to local groups. I am currently writing my second slow cooker cookbook.  I have appeared on TV over 10 times demonstrating different recipes."

Karen is a mother of two kids, six-year-old Reagan and three-year-old Skyler. Her husband, Greg, is a federal probation officer. Karen enjoys fitness and running and teaches fitness classes to local moms to bur off all the calories she eats at dinner each night. Karen describes herself as shy, and said she likes blogging because she doesn't know who's reading and can write to an unknown audience.  

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