It’s the run down into Christmas; so slow cooked meals are THE PERFECT choice for time crunched busy-bodies doing their best to eat clean and healthy in the count-down to Christmas day.
We just invested in a new crock pot after reluctantly leaving the owners le Creuset casserole pot in our last home 🙂 . BUT with every cloud there is a silver lining because we invested in some fabulous kitchen appliances for our new home.
We have prepared a few meals to date in this and are really loving how easy it is to use, with no fuss. Garron has prepared a traditional South African tomato bredie, I have poached a ham (great feedback from our guest) and today was round two for me making a vegetarian tagine to balance all the meat that we have been enjoying of late.
It is good to include beans and lentils in the diet regularly as they are more alkaline in nature (when processed by the body) than meats and dairy foods, and rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; ones that are often limiting in other foods. Here is some tidbits about black beans and lentils.
Before I charge on to the recipe, here are a few tips for this busy period.
Tips to survive the Christmas mayhem
- Eat well
Christmas is a stressful time and if you wish to feel well and energetic you must eat well. Pracctice ‘how can I make this meal better’ tactics.
- Move often
It is important for your mind and body to get moving, preferably outdoors and especially when the sun makes an appearance.
- Manage your energy
Take time outs, do things that you love, delegate or share the tasks, do what is necessary and avoid getting caught up in the frenzy, or spending more than you have and over-committing.
- Own your stress before you load it on someone else
When stress hits a high the following may be helpful strategies to re-ground you: music; creativity such as writing, baking, drawing, gardening; nature; water such as a bath or shower; coffee date with yourself or a calm and supportive friend; aromatherapy; plant essences; Bach flower remedies; magnesium.
- Remember what this is all about
Christmas is all about family, connection, love and gratitude and for many of us yes, FOOD (see here for some Christmas tips).Christmas time can be a stressful time for many; try to see behind words and actions and find the heart in those around you wherever you are. Sometimes what seems like inappropriate behaviour, anger or moodiness is stress, anxiety, insecurity, worry, loneliness, fear or fatigue.
I have made a flower and tree essence for assisting us release our wounds of past that are often triggered off during family gatherings so that you can finally be present in all that you are now, secure, confident and light of heart.
- Give back
It is a joy like no other to give to others and pay it forwards.
- Make a strategy
We avoided the shopping mayhem by capitalising on late opening hours. So after a post-work meal to relax us we then faced the Christmas food shop.
If shopping makes you very anxious then consider doing as much as you can online.
- Slow cooking time – approximately 6 hours
- Servings: 8+ so plenty for freezing and left-overs
- Slow cooker but this meal is more than adaptable for a casserole dish or Le Creuset casserole dish
These ingredients are based on what I had in the fridge. Many vegetables can be interchanged or added, such as carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, courgette, aubergine, cauliflower, broccoli, or as you prefer.
- Coconut oil or olive oil
- 3 small/ 2 large onions – chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic – chopped or minced
- Grated fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon dried ground ginger
- 2-3 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2-3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2-3 teaspoons ground coriander
- ½ – 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1-2 tablespoons Harissa (this is hot; start gently if you are unsure about your love for hot)
- 1 small bag of dried black beans (I am confident that chickpeas or red kidney or other beans will all work superbly) – I soaked these for a few hours and strained them before use
- Good fistful of unsulphured organic apricots – large ones chopped in half
- Vegetables; I used 2 mixed peppers, 1 small head of celery, 2 parsnips. These are not very traditional tagine vegetables but they worked and they are healthy choices so it was a win) – washed, prepared and roughly chopped
- 1 can tomatoes
- Freshly made stock, stock cube or bouillon powder
Serving suggestion: freshly chopped coriander, or dash of basil pesto, black pepper and salt to taste.
Serve on cauliflower rice, bean pasta, cooked basmati rice, wild rice, millet or quinoa
- Using the slow cooker on saute (or the casserole dish on the hob) brown the onions, garlic, and ginger in your oil of choice.
- When onions, garlic and ginger are starting to go translucent add the spices and stir for a moment to allow the spices to heat up.
- Chuck in your drained beans, vegetables, apricots, tomatoes and stock to cover. Turn the slow cooker to slow cook on high for approximately 6 hours OR place your le Creuset in the oven at approximately 160 ° C for several hours (I am unsure of exactly how long in the oven so please check after 1 hour and on the hour adding more stock as required to keep the beans simmering).
- Check your beans and vegetables on occasion and top up with more stock should they look like they are starting to go too dry. Both the beans and the dried apricots will absorb quite a lot of liquids so be sure to monitor progress.
- Serve as suggested on cauliflower rice, bean pasta, cooked basmati rice, wild rice, millet or quinoa. Top with freshly chopped coriander, or dash of basil pesto, black pepper and salt to taste.
PS this will last a few days and will also freeze well.
Happy Christmas to all,