The Crock Pot is Hot

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It's been nice and cold and dark and a little rainy and a little windy and just . . . Novembery. Mama is tiiiiiiiired. What is with the time change, seriously. Why does one little hour of difference make such a difference? Baby Mimi wakes at 3:00 a.m. Or 4:00 a.m. Or, blissfully, 5:00 a.m. (which is the old 6:00 a.m.). Ugh. It's too early even for birds. There's nothing up besides us at 4:00 a.m. She's the most chipper (and adorable, it must be said) person I've ever seen in my life at 4:00 a.m., I will give her that!

Thank you for the crock pot — slow cooker — suggestions! Very cool! We made Jennifer's Split Pea Soup that day and it was amazing. It actually needed longer than I had given it, so we saved it for the next day and made some Dutch oven bread and yeah, that was a seriously good dinner for a cold November night. Thank you, Jennifer! I printed out a bunch of other recipes that you suggested and will work my way through them. I also noticed that several people recommended America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution, so I got that. A lot of people seem to like this book, and most of the criticisms I read — you need to do a lot of prep before putting stuff in the cooker, the meals cook in four to six hours, which isn't long enough if you are at work all day — aren't problems for me at all. I have much, much more time and energy in the morning to shop for and prepare stuff. I actually really like cooking at that time of day, and since I'm home all day I can time it so that it's ready at dinnertime. We eat by five and are thick into the baby-bedtime routine by six. And honestly, at around four I just want to know what's for dinner, not be trying to make it. I don't always feel like this, but in the fall I definitely do.

So yesterday we thumbed through the new book and decided to try the Swedish meatballs. True to America's Test Kitchen style, the book is super informative and they give you lots of explanations for why a recipe asks you to do this or that. (I've watched the show for years and gotten the magazines, and I love this approach, though sometimes the dishes that I have made from them don't actually wind up being my favorites.) I think these came out really well, though I would not add the sour cream in the last step — the result was a sauce that seemed too heavy and almost cloying and too-sweet; but I should've known that was going to happen, because I don't really like the taste of sour cream in most sauces. I think I would stick with heavy cream thinned with broth or water to finish it off. That's just me. Served over buttered noodles with a green salad topped with roasted roots, yum. Good. Two dinners in a row!Next I'm going to try some chicken.

Thank you for your sweet words about the new animals! I'm really excited about them and have a lot of new ideas. Unfortunately no, neither patterns nor kits for anything new will be available before Christmas. But they will be available eventually. We are making some pretty awesome changes to our production process around here. I met with a business consultant a few weeks ago and it has been kind of life-changing for me. One result of that meeting is that I will be outsourcing all of the fabric cutting for future kits to a local sewing production factory called Spooltown. I've needed this for a while, and I am so excited about it I can't even tell you. This place is so cool, and I am thrilled that we have an amazing local resource like this. I was so excited at my first meeting with them that I couldn't stop talking. Their sewing and production space is gorgeous; I will take some pictures of it when we start the cutting for the new stuff (which won't be for a while, though). Anyway, I have lots of new ideas in the works, and now there will be more time for me to design. I will fill you in as things progress!


Oooh lovely ... loving all the autumn colours in this post :-) That little Amelia is looking gorgeous as ever. I was reading through some of your archives and looking at your dress sewing, and I reflected that she will be the best-dressed baby for MILES! :-)

You made me want to buy a slow cooker for the winter! Can someone recommend one particular brand? Here in Germany I can find several ones but as I am not experienced I don't know what's important... For example, which temperatures are best to have? Thank you!

Another soothingly wondrous post - a lovely way to end the work week.

I am so excited for you that your business is taking off, you deserve it. Love the photos of your darling girl, she is growing up before our eyes and it sure is a treasure to watch her.

The soup looks delicious. Pea soup is one of my winter staples. I always make two meals on the one day now so I only have to cook every second day. Sometimes we eat the meals on two consecutive days, other times I freeze one so we always have a small store of frozen home-cooked meals in the freezer that only need reheating. I think it makes the most of my time so I can get on with what I do and we still eat nutritious, real food.

Your new business practises sound as if they'll stream line what you do and give you more time to think and develop. Good luck with it all.

I love the slow cooker revolution book! Their second one (slow cooker revolution II) is pretty great as well. I like to pull mine out on the weekend, because yeah, the baby can be very clingy in the late afternoon when I'm trying to cook. Good luck with those early mornings!

I'm so glad you enjoyed the pea soup! Thank you for linking to my blog. I love the Dutch oven bread too and we make it often. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your new business developments.

If I ever get a new crock pot, I want a white insert like yours. I use my crock pot all the time but it is so ugly. I have Cooks Country chicken and dumplings in my crock pot today. I had to spend about an hour cutting and cooking before I could turn it on but it will be worth it. I love your new animals.

Ha ha! That made me chuckle as i opened to see that it was a CROCK POT blog post! Thanks for clarifying!!!

I love the liberty colourway for the fox dress fabric..ker-ute!

Must be such a relief to be free-d up to do the fun design bit and not the laborious stuff.... sounds wonderful.

Might try that split pea recipe in my le creuset....

Well. Now I am hungry.
I wish I had been clever, and prepared something this morning for our dinner tonight.
The recipes look and sound very good, and I think I need to learn more about America's Test Kitchen... I love the idea of learning the reasons for steps, and processes... thank you! Foxy and Kitty, and Mimi are melting my heart with their cozy adorableness!

Sophie, I don't know the slow cooker brands in Germany but look for a few features for your slow cooker:

You need to be able to lift out the crock so you can wash it or refrigerate it.

A timer is your friend. Having it automatically turn on and turn off is very helpful.

Otherwise, I don't think more expensive is always better. I have an inexpensive brand and it has been great!

Lovely autumn photos. Sorry about your very early starts. I know what it's like to be woken up in what is basically still night. But that beautiful face will more than make up for it I think. I am intrigued by the berries in the seventh photo. I haven't seen anything like them before. I'm guessing they're not edible. The petal-type parts look thick and waxy. They're very striking, whatever they are. Hope you all have a lovely weekend. Good luck with the changes to your production processes and your new kits. Exciting times!

Thank you so much Laurie! I will look for those goodies!

Does the fabric cutting service mean we might see some more of the ornament kits that sold out? I am trying to make a handmade tree and have my kids have memories of making them as a family since my husband deploys quite a bit and misses holidays often. I would love to round out my collection with the latest kit:)

The Fat Cat Sat on a Mat; the Crock Pot is Hot - I thought maybe you were using the rhyme for Amelia, LOL. Either way, my mouth is watering.

I can't wait to meet the new little animals! And hear about Spooltown! So many exciting things happening for everyone lately. I am also excited because I might be visiting lovely Portland in the future -- I am working for Knit-Purl now and loving every minute from afar, and hope they'll have me out to see the Rose City soon. I'll be able to make use of your Portland guide stuff!

I love those boots that Mimi is wearing! Do they come in grown-up sizes too? I'd wear them around the house every single day! :)

Just wanted to add that the plant with the striking blue berries is Harlequin Glory Bower, with the very long botanical name of Clerodendrum trichotomum. In the southeast USA, it gets to be 15 or so feet tall. Beautiful when blooming, but kind of scraggly the rest of the year. It's listed on the Royal Horticultural Society website, CJ. I have a Glory Bower vine -- indoor plant and different species -- that looks pretty most of the time. As for crock pots, I'm encouraged to buy a new one since I sold mine at a yard sale many years ago and never replaced it. Alicia, your child has such an expressive, endearing face.

I'm with Jane: I need a pair of Mimi's boots in women's size 7.5! Those are just too awesome. Mimi is definitely becoming my new favorite style icon! :)

I am so envious of your cooking talents.
I am a mess in the kitchen.
That is the first thing if I ever win the lotto is a personal live in chef, guess I need to move to a state that has a lotto first...
Congrats on your production news, how exciting!!!
I do have to say that we love the time change here. All is finally right with the clocks and we are brighter and happier as a family. But I still would love to have your cold dark windy days...that is what November is to me and I miss is so much.

I'm so curious to know the name of the Liberty pattern & color way the beautiful fox is dressed in? I'm just crazy about Mirabelle (that's what it looks like), but I've never seen it in those lovely fall colors. Thanks! Can't wait for these new patterns/kits.

I just came across your blog today and love looking through all your past posts! I used to live in Portland and love seeing the pictures of Mt Hood:) And I also have an Amelia! And I love to knit, can't wait to take a peek at your Ravelry page;)

Oh, give Mimi a big hug for me...gracious she's growing so fast but she will never outgrow that sweet look about her!
I too love ATK and have several of their books but not the crockpot one which would be nice because I too "poop out" early afternoon so if dinner is not at least prepped and ready to go I will be eating out of a can! LOL!
Oh, new kits coming and those darling animals! My birthday's in January....perfect! LOL! No pressure!
What is that red flower or seed with the blueberry looking middle? It's so pretty and I've never seen anything like it.'s off to bed for me least to watch t.v and do some handwork....I think it's hibernation mode we go into in the Fall. TTYL!

Kathy, FRANCE says: November 15, 2013 at 06:07 PM

Slow cookers rock!! - I've just bought my daughter one for her Birthday - she's getting into it - working all day in central Paris - it's nice to come home to something hot! I bought her the Hamlyn All colour Slow Cooker Book to go with it - via Amazon - she says it's great - I haven't seen it yet! I'll give you the low down when we go over to Paris for a weekend in early December - when the Christmas lights come on!!

I don't work outside the home - and like you - use it even though I'm at home - it just makes the most melt in the mouth meat!! and I have some great recipes if you're interested!!

thank you, alicia, for outsourcing in the united states. sara sounds like just the right person to do incredible work for you. wouldn't it be wonderful to bring industry like hand-crafting/needlework et al back to the states? we just finished day three of our crock pot meal. one meal, three different ways. as always, beautiful post. ta.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.