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Should I buy a crockpot? And if so which one?
Poll ended at Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:45 pm
I have a crockpot and I like it. 66%  66%  [ 27 ]
I have a crockpot and it is gathering dust 10%  10%  [ 4 ]
I don't have a crockpot and I want one 20%  20%  [ 8 ]
I don't want a crockpot 5%  5%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 41
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 Post subject: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:45 pm 
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Semen Strong
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As we head into the colder weather, should I get a slow-cooker and if so which should I get?

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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:58 pm 
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I go through phases where I use mine a lot and phases where I don't use it at all. On the upside, if you have 15 minutes of downtime in the morning or the night before, you can fill it up and turn it on whenever and not have to worry about dinner again. On the downside, that means you have to think at least that far ahead.

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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:01 pm 
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I have one that's actual crockpot brand that's awesome. My other one (hamilton beach?) is kind of slow, even for a slow cooker, set on high.

I don't cook actual meals it in as often as I used to, but I'll cook a pound of beans at a time to toss them in the freezer, instead of buying canned.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:15 pm 
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I say get one! I actually rarely use ours to slow-cook stews and stuff, but it comes in handy for cooking beans/seitan/etc, especially since we have the world's smallest stove and having more than 2 pots on there at the same time is a nuisance. Also, if you like caramelized onions it's really easy to do a big batch of them in the crockpot.

I have this one, but I don't think I would recommend it, because it runs very hot (even on the low setting) so I would feel very apprehensive about leaving it to cook while I'm out and about. If you have room to store it this is a good size to get though, because it holds a ton of food which is awesome if you're feeding a family or cooking enough to have leftovers.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:17 pm 
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I got one when I had babynut, and I liked it when I could put her down for a nap in the morning, go make dinner and not worry about it again until it was time to eat. That being said, even though I have two vegan slow cooker cookbooks, I'm not totally thrilled to eat from it more than twice a week. The food is just meh. It serves the purpose of a no fuss meal but it's not really a treat.

It's simple enough for my non-cook partner to use, too. That's a plus.

I love it for making steel cut oats overnight. That's my breakfast pretty much every morning.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:57 pm 
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Mine is the actual Crock-Pot brand and I think it's like 7 or 8 quarts. Love it. There are so many possibilities. Seitan, roast vegetabelse, baked potatoes, stuffed peppers, beans, sauces, queso, sloppy joes. Apparently even pizza via Robin Robertson. I love mine so much, I think I need to buy a smaller one just for beans and sauces! Highly recommend.

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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:35 pm 
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Calls "cavemen" on that
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Well, I bought a slow cooker at target, a good brand, on sale for $10.

I never, ever use it. Why? because nobody is home for 8+ hours a day. I could set it to go at 7am, but then I don't get home until almost 7pm. My partner could turn it off when he gets home, but then I don't get home for a while.

I have been having a hard time finding 10+ hour recipes. I don't think the cooker will stay on that long anyways, it has a shut down I think.

Heed my cautionary tale if you are not home for most of the day, or you might end up using it only on the weekends or overnights.

ps...if anyone has any recipes or ideas for me, they would be appreciated. My cooker is gathering dust in the closet.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:44 pm 
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Chicki wrote:
Well, I bought a slow cooker at target, a good brand, on sale for $10.

I never, ever use it. Why? because nobody is home for 8+ hours a day. I could set it to go at 7am, but then I don't get home until almost 7pm. My partner could turn it off when he gets home, but then I don't get home for a while.


You can get a timer for your slow cooker and set it to turn on at a later time or switch off at an earlier time. Robin Robertson mentioned this as option in her book Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker.

I love mine and use it quite often. I have noticed that new slow cookers seem to get much hotter than the older ones. I pretty much only use the LOW setting on my new one because of this. Everything cooks fine, so I guess it's okay.

One more tip for people who like to cook oatmeal and hot cereal in their slow cookers. Put the cereal in a heat-proof bowl with the specified amount of water. Put some water in the crock and then place the prepared bowl of cereal in the water in the crock. Cover with the lid and cook as usual. This method makes perfect hot cereal that doesn't cook to the bottom and sides of the crock. Cleanup is a breeze!


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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:43 pm 
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I have a 6 qt Rival one (I'm pretty sure that's the "crock pot" brand name.) I don't use it a ton, but it's great for what it's great for and I wouldn't want to not have it. If I was cooking for a family, I might like a slightly bigger one. Mine can do recipes that are like four generous servings. I also have a small (1.5 quart) one that I mostly use for keeping things like queso warm in potluck-y kind of settings.

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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:50 pm 
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I have a Crock Pot brand programmable slow cooker. It's awesome because I don't have to remember to turn it off! (Which I have had issues doing in the past.) It is fantastic for basics like cooking beans and seitan, not to mention soupy-stewy type recipes. I'm a fan of Kathy Hester's Vegan Slow Cooker book, if you're looking for recipes.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:08 pm 
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It's great for cooking beans from scratch.
In the fall and winter there is nothing better than having a nice hot stew, soup, or chili waiting and ready at the end of a long day.
I disagree with butternut about the meals it produces being meh. I haven't been that thrilled by anything I've cooked from Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, but I think those recipes just don't appeal to my taste. That book did teach me how to use my slow cooker and how to convert many stove top and oven recipes to it with delightful results.
In the Summer it is great for making things you would normally use the oven for, without heating your house up: baked potatoes, casseroles, even cake! If you are hyper sensitive like me, and really don't want to add any heat at all to your house, you can plug it in on the porch, patio, deck, or balcony, and cook your dinner outside!
It has been a huge hit for mulled cider at fall and winter parties. I just throw some good cloudy apple cider in with whatever I like: some cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, etc. Let it mull away. Next to the crock, besides cups, I set out more ground spices, plus a bottle each of dark rum and brandy for optional spiking. It's great cause it's a drink the non-drinkers and those who fancy some booze can all partake of.

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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:42 pm 
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I think I'm going to do the external timer trick for overnight cooking. I had a hard time sleeping last night because I could smell 16 bean soup. (and/or I might do the porch thing.)

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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:59 am 
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I think the biggest question for you will be what size crockpot to get. I have a small household (just two of us) and I found that the larger crockpots simply required me to make too much food. I gave my big crockpot away because I was never using it. I now have a small crockpot (1 qt) that I use much more often -- it's perfect for cooking a small batch of dry beans (no soaking! hooray!), a single tofurky loaf, and other small recipes.

The hard part is that almost all crockpot entree recipes are designed for larger crockpots, and I am singularly poor at scaling down recipes of that nature. If you plan on cooking from these cookbooks in the quantities that the recipes make, you should plan on buying a 4- or 6-qt crockpot.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:03 am 
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I love our crock pot, we use it to cook batches of beans, soups, stews, curries, chili, sloppy lentils. The main dish we do in it is chili, we make a batch a week, we just put everything in it at bedtime and cook it on low until we wake up, which isn't terribly time specific, but it always works out delicious. My husband made himself garlicky kale in the crock pot this afternoon/evening while I was at school, and he's pretty psyched about that too (I'm a raw vegetable eater, cooked veggie texture squicks me, so cooked greens are his jam).

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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:40 am 
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i have three crockpots- a 1.5 quart (cheapie offbrand from target), a 5 quart (old school with that early 90s fake embroidery design), and a Food Network programmable 8 quart one. The 5 quart gets used the most, and is my favorite ever. and i ALWAYS leave stuff in it for 10+ hours and have never had a problem. I don't know if i could do that with the larger one, since new crock pots are designed to cook hotter. (food safety, etc) . i love my crock pots and would be lost without them.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:56 am 
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Chicki wrote:
. . . because nobody is home for 8+ hours a day. I could set it to go at 7am, but then I don't get home until almost 7pm. My partner could turn it off when he gets home, but then I don't get home for a while.

I also had this issue, I was away for 12+ hours. My husband works nights now and I work part-time so he usually turns it on in the morning and I am home to check on it mid-afternoon and it is a good thing because many times there have been issues. If you are away all day you should get one that can be programmed to turn on and off.

I use mine often enough to justify it. I have a small one but even that takes up space so I keep it in the basement when not in use. Year round, I use it mostly for making veg broth and cooking beans. Fall/Winter I make more meals with it.

If you have the money and space is not an issue I recommend it.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:28 am 
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fork yes you should get a crockpot! I love mine! It never even gets put away because I use it so much year round. Nothing like coming home to your dinner already made, ready, and waiting for you after a long day of work. Lately I've been making baked potatoes in it weekly.

Mine is crock pot brand, got it for a wedding gift. The actual crock part is heavy and ceramic I think. But it is not programmable and only has a high or low setting and a warm option. So I would say get one that have a timer on it and multiple settings. I thought about getting an external timer for mine but I haven't gotten that far yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Should I buy a slow-cooker? Recommendations?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:26 pm 
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During the winter, I would make the overnight oatmeal recipes in the Vegan Slow Cooker and wake up to piping hot delicious oatmeal every morning. It made getting out of bed a little easier.


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