Finding Fulfillment · Food · Happiness · Vegetarian Cooking

What my slow cooker taught me about time management

slow cooker

My grandfather used to tell me, “Time is a precious thing. Be careful not to waste it, because you can never get it back.”

As a kid, when your life is full of forced napping, “Are we there yets?” or minutes that feel like hours, time is something we have plenty of, and it seems to take forever to pass. Now, however, I completely understand my grandfather’s wise words.

With a full-time job, family commitments, errands, engagements with friends, hobbies and personal projects to complete, it’s hard to find time to finish everything that needs to get done, while also squeezing in “me” time to care of myself through relaxing, exercising, sleeping  enough, and cooking healthy food. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

For the last year, I’ve been cooking quite regularly, so I finally feel like a real adult, but since I also enjoy it, it’s double #winning for me. But some days, there isn’t time, which is why I’m starting to use my slow cooker, and I’ve learned a few things as a result.

You can’t get back time already spent, but you can “create” more time

I registered for this item when I got married only because I’d never had one before. The novelty of it me made me want to include it as part of the collection of other cookware I listed to complete my kitchen. It wasn’t until recently that I realized just how useful this tool could be in adding an hour or two back to my day, even though the name “slow cooker” can be misleading.

In fact, the slow cooker helps save time and beat the clock since I can leave it running for hours to cook my food for me while I: 1) sleep at night, 2) run errands,  or 3) go to work. That’s 30 minutes to two hours that I don’t have to stand in front of the stove cooking myself!  I prefer option 1 since it means I’m at home while the cooking takes place, in case there’s some terrible accident or emergency while this appliance stays on. Then, by the time I’ve woken up, the food is ready to pack for lunch and I also know I have more left over for when I come home for dinner.

A little time spent up front can save you a lot of time later.

So far, I’ve made vegetarian chili with a mix of hearty vegetables, black beans, corn, crushed tomatoes and herbs, as well as a quinoa-lentil dish with spinach and Indian spices (like making dal). However, I improvised without following a real recipe because I didn’t want to waste time trying to find and follow instructions. Therefore, both dishes tasted fine, but not spectacular, so I still need to perfect use of this kitchen tool and use appropriate recipes to really bring out the flavors.

As my husband reminds me when I get impatient, with any electronic gadget or appliance, as much as it may be “push to start,” there’s always a little work and practice involved to get it to work just the right way for you.

Now that I’ve seen what a time saver the slow cooker can really be, that up-front time and effort is something I’m willing to spend to save me precious time in the future.

Saving time is not the same as rushing

As much as I want to build more time into my schedule, there are just some things that are impossible to rush: improvement, development and self-acceptance.  Clearly, using a slow cooker only allows you to be more efficient, to do other things while the food is cooking; it does not make the actual food cook any faster. In fact, it takes longer, and that’s because the real meaty stuff in life– the stuff that matters– takes time.

What that means to me, as a people-pleaser, is that as much as I’d love to win the title of being the ideal employee,  coworker, daughter, sister, aunt, wife, friend, citizen and self, and as much  I try to do the things I need to achieve those, I can only chip away at those things one day at a time. I can’t become all of those things immediately or through just a couple of tasks.

Furthermore, there are still going to be some aspects that are out of my control. If I’ve done my part, I may just have to wait for the rest of the world do theirs. After we’ve prepped the food and put it in the slow cooker, it’s now up to the appliance to handle the cooking. We have to be patient and let it run its course.

Just as the slow cooker needs those several hours to get the food cooked to perfection, so too do we need to give ourselves some time to become the best versions of ourselves.

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SUGGEST A RECIPE!

Help me on my slow-cooking journey! I’m looking for creative, healthy vegetarian recipes for the slow cooker, so make a suggestion in the comments or message me directly!

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