Cooking for two has been a joy for me in the empty nest season of life! We eat lighter, healthier and simpler now. Do you? In fact, without all of the chaos of having teenagers rushing in and out and trying to adjust mealtimes to their crazy schedules, I actually find it cooking kind of relaxing! I can remember when I headed to the grocery store for the first time after our nest emptied, I was amazed at not only how low my total bill was at check out, but also at how quickly I got out of there! Even in the midst of those first (sometimes emotional) days of adjustment, it was one of the very first blessings of the empty nest that I truly relished.
With just the two of us eating, I have been more adventurous. Most surprisingly, perhaps, I’ve rediscovered my slow cooker. ( I know, “adventurous” and “slow cooker” are not necessarily always associated together, but still!) That’s right, the good old crock pot. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I used my enormous one when the kids were all here – for big stews, pot roasts, and chili on a cold night, but a 2-quart size is perfect for two people. Right after our nest emptied, I bought a 2-quart Rival Slow Cooker (pictured above), and I have used it and used it. Recently, Rival spun off all of their slow cookers into a separate brand, called “Crock Pot,” (Imagine that!) and the new products, sold under the “Crock Pot” brand are nearly identical to mine. I recently found this Crock Pot 1½-quart Slow Cooker that is virtually identical to mine. It’s under $15! My two favorite things about mine (and this one) are the removable stoneware pot that can go right into the dishwasher for cleanup, and the option of a “warm” setting that can keep our meal ready-to-eat if one of us needs to work a little late. Oh, and it is the perfect size for queso when everyone is here! Our family has an annual “Dip Day” tradition on New Year’s Day, where we watch football and eat nothing but dip! (You can click on the link above or the image below for more information.)
Along the way, I discovered a couple of great cookbooks I want to share with you as well. (Um, I have a little cookbook addiction problem that I’ve never confessed to you all before…YEAH.) All of these are designed for slow cooker cooking for two. They are all good, but the first one is my very favorite!
Have you enjoyed cooking for two in the empty nest? I’d love to know some of your go-to favorites! Please leave me a comment below and give me the scoop. In the meantime, happy slow cooking from me! Here’s to quick and cheap grocery runs and kitchens that smell delish at the end of the day. Empty nest blessed, indeed!
P. S. (Do you love it that you can see a big ole’ bra line on the front of my shirt in this photo? Ugh!) 🙂
Photo by Megan Weaver.
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(Click the images for details. My tee sold out. Tee pictured is similar.)