I discovered Kathy Hester’s blog – Healthy Slow Cooking – a while ago, and since I am such a fan of my slow cooker I asked her to come and do a guest post for us here at Vegan Chickie. Kathy is a long-time vegetarian who lives in Durham NC with her partner, 2 cats and a big silly dog, she writes below about her love of the slow cooker and about some possibilities you may not yet thought of when it comes to using your crockpot.

Healthy Slow Cooking

You may still be wondering what all the slow cooker fuss is about. I’ve been in love with mine long before the food blogs started a new buzz. I’m glad everyone is using them now. It means more yummy recipes for all of us!

As you go in search of slow cooker goodness, don’t get bogged down in the cream of this and cream of that recipes. It’s easy for vegans to substitute ingredients. After all, who else sees so much possibility in a box of silken tofu? You can even make your own cream of mushroom from it!

One of the reasons I love using the slow cooker is that it makes easy things even better because you don’t have to be around while it’s cooking. Baked potatoes are a perfect example of this. Poke a few holes in them with a fork and pop into the slow cooker on low for 6 – 8 hours. You can also cook them on high for 4 hours. You don’t need to oil the crock or put them in aluminum foil. It’s a perfect base for a few steamed veggies and some of Jennifer McCann’s nacho cheese sauce.

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite veggies. Sometimes I “bake” them in the slow cooker, then split them in half and sprinkle cinnamon and fresh nutmeg over it and have it for dessert. You can also make a main dish out of it lathered with homemade veggie chili and a nice salad.

Winter squash are perfect in the slow cooker. You can do it the normal way and make stuffed acorn squash. Cut it in half raw and scrape out all the seeds. But sometimes with spaghetti or butternut squash you almost need a machete and a helper to cut through it. Instead poke some holes in your whole squash and throw it into the slow cooker! The trick is to allow some cooling time before you cut it open to scoop out the squash guts. The knife slides through easily and you can scoop the cooked squash out and use in your favorite dish. Freeze any leftovers to use another time.

You can slow roast veggies in your Crock-pot too. It’s great to be able to leave them all day. I cook beets, celery root, onions, parsnips, carrots, brussel sprouts and baby carrots in the slow cooker. I like to put some roasted veggies on my salad or use them in soups or stews. You can toss them in oil or add some water. I love to add fresh rosemary and thyme. It makes the house smell good and it’s yummy too!

Be sure to head over to Kathy’s blog and check out some of her fabulous recipes!