Slow-Cooker Coconut Ginger Chicken & Vegetables

Given as a wedding present nearly ten years ago, my slow-cooker hasn’t seen nearly enough use. I tend to reach for my cherry red Le Creuset French oven for braising and stewing. However, as our family is growing and appetites are expanding, I can see the practical side of having a large crock pot and keeping it busy.

Still, I could use some help. I’m no seasoned slow-cooker chef, and can count my fails up there with my winning dishes. That is one reason why I was happy to have Kelsey contact me to participate in her week-long Slow-Cooker Challenge.

January is the perfect month to give that slow-cooker a permanent place on the counter top and our challenge is sure to fuel you with plenty of inspiration. Don’t own a crock pot yet? Both The Naptime Chef and my friends at Big Girls, Small Kitchen are giving one away this week! So hurry over and enter.

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Weekend Links & Giveaway Winners

We had our first major snowfall this weekend, making it the perfect time to brew a pot of tea and catch up on some reading. I’m really enjoying Mandi’s book, All In Good Time, and am delighted to announce the winners of my first Bite This Book! giveaway.

Two people will receive a copy of All in Good Time and they are:

Liz who said:

“For me, it will be anything that helps save money. We are on a TIGHT budget as it is and I may be taking a pay cut.”

oneshabbychick who said:

“I was drawn in by the cover hinting at the best time to remodel your kitchen! That is in my future and that’s the first tidbit I would want to look up. Thanks for the chance to win!”

Congratulations to the both of you! You have been notified via email.

A big thank you to all who entered! Remember, if you’re feeling like you need a leg up on getting organized in 2012, you can pick up your own copy of All In Good Time: When to Save, Stock Up, and Schedule Everything for Your Home on Amazon.

Now on to some more weekend reading! Here’s what caught my eye around the web this week…

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Bite This Book! All In Good Time (giveaway)

Welcome to a new 2012 series on Simple Bites! Each month, I’ll feature a book of my choosing (cookbooks, predominantly) that is hot off the press, host a Q & A with the author, and then give you a chance to win a copy. It’s Bite This Book and it starts today!

January is a month where it’s easy to get inspired to organize the kitchen. The weather outside is blustery and cold (at least up here it is), the holiday parties are over, and routine is reinstated in our households.

It makes sense to tackle organizing projects now – big or small – and today I have just the book to help you on your way. Written by my friends and fellow mothers, Mandi Ehman and Tara Kuczykowski, All In Good Time: When to Save, Stock Up, and Schedule Everything for Your Home is a thorough resource for busy families looking for ways to cut costs, save time, and get the home in order.

Nope, it’s not a cookbook, but All in Good Time is definitely a book that I can see being very valuable to Simple Bites readers. Read on for an interview with Mandi and a chance to win one of two copies!

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Moms Need Lunch Too! – 5 Easy Midday Meal Ideas for Mom

Written by Katie of Good Life Eats

I‘ve already written about Balanced School Lunches for Picky Eaters, but what I really struggle with is making my own lunch. I’m not saying that I don’t eat during the day. I just don’t eat lunch like I should. This past year has been worse because my kids are getting to the age where they’re away from home for lunch more than they’re at home, which leaves me finding myself alone quite often.

I tend to snack on whatever it is that I’m cooking or photographing that day around lunch time because I spend much of my alone days testing recipes and photographing dishes for GoodLife Eats. And you should know that I am easily bored with food.

I know that what I really should be doing taking the time to sit down, take a break, and eat a balanced meal.

Aimée already talked about her Intentional Food Goals for 2012. Taking a midday break to eat a balanced afternoon meal is one of mine. I decided that it was high time I sat down and made myself a list of easy to prepare lunch ideas.

Because I’m alone and busy working, lunches need to be: something that requires little thought and effort and doesn’t create a lot of extra mess. [Read more…]

9 Foods to Stock in Your Pantry in 2012

Every January, my pantry inevitably needs an in-depth examination. So I clear out the remnants of holiday foodstuffs that have collected – candy canes, cracker fragments, sprinkles and other cookie decorations – and take a good look at what is left.

A lot of my homemade jam and preserves have been given away as gifts; my stash of nuts, dried fruit and olives has dwindled (as it should over the entertaining season), and there is plenty of space for starting over.

With my intentional food-related goals for the new year at the forefront of my planning, I sit down to write a list of staples I need to stock. I take notice of low granola supplies, the absence of canned beans, and other clues that point to my need for a grocery haul.

The result is a list of basic staples that I think anyone striving to serve wholesome family food should stockpile and I’m sharing it here with you today.

If you’re serious about maintaining a diet of nourishing foods, one of the best things you can do is stock your pantry with quality ingredients. You’ll be inspired to try new recipes – and have the resources to follow through with them – and more inclined to steer clear of prepackaged and processed foods.

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