7 Crock Pot Recipes

I'd like to begin by singing you a little song.  Just imagine a voice like Carrie Underwood's, okay?  Ahem...

On the 12th day of Christmas, FitCakes gave to me 12 Healthy Small Bites Recipes

On the 11th day of Christmas, FitCakes gave to me 11 Kid-Friendly Recipes

On the 10th day of Christmas, FitCakes gave to me 10 Holiday Leftover Makeover Recipes

On the 9th day of Christmas, FitCakes gave to me 9 Healthy Holiday Brunch Recipes

On the 8th day of Christmas, FitCakes gave to me 8 Takes on Gingerbread Recipes

And on the 7th day of Christmas, you get 7 Crock Pot Recipes!  Woohoo!  That's all I have so far, but tomorrow will be 6 Pumpkin Recipes!  I can never ever have enough of those.  And these will be cool ones!

In Tucson, there are a scarcity of cozy-weather days.  The past week though, has been a rare week full of cozy-weather days.  Full-on robe-and-slippers stuff.  Hot cocoa has finally begun to sound like a good idea.  I think it's awesome.

No, it's not like we've got piles of snow - or even piles of leaves, for that matter - but it's been rainy and cold, as if to make at least a half-hearted attempt at winter.  If you hadn't noticed before, my culinary cravings are often inspired by the weather.  And as much as I've tried to get into the holiday baking and hot foods these past few months, it's only been the last few days that the climate has become more... appropriate.

Clearly, we have reason to celebrate!  And by celebrate I mean in bed an extra ten minutes, wearing sweat pants as much as possible, and by making food in the slow cooker that we can smell cooking all day long and have piping hot and delicious by dinner.  Or dessert or breakfast...

For the 7th day of Christmas, we've got 7 of the ultimate healthy and delicious recipes to rock your fuzzy Christmas toe-socks - they're sure to make everyone glad to be home and cozy for the holidays!

1. Hearty Slow Cooker Chili

vegan, gluten-free

Fun fact:  Chili is called "chili" because you eat it when you're chilly.  Actually, that's not really true at all, but it would make a lot of sense, wouldn't it?  Whenever the chill air rolls in, chili is always my #1 choice to throw in the slow cooker!  This particular chili is super thick and hearty, with a slightly smoky and spicy flavor - great for making vegans and meatitarians alike feel all warm and happy inside even when the weather outside is frightful!

2. Slow Cooker Baked Apples

vegan-friendly (using a vegan butter-substitute)

Move over, apple pie.  These individual baked apples are just like mini pies, but 135% more stylish.  Plus, they're filled with healthy ingredients and would be amazing with just a dollop of vanilla fro-yo or ice cream.  This just took eating fruit for dessert to a whole new level, guys.

3. Vanilla Bean Steel Cut Oats

vegan, gluten-free friendly

When I worked at a smoothie place in college, the most popular winter item was their steel-cut oatmeal.  I certainly ate a phenomenal amount of it there, always wishing I could somehow have it on the days I didn't work there as well.  (Sharing a kitchen with 7 other girls at the time, if I couldn't make something in the microwave, I wasn't likely to eat it.)  Point is, I love steel cut oats, and this recipe has it ready for you as soon as you wake up.  I doubt one would ever skip a healthy breakfast with this recipe up their ugly Christmas-Sweater sleeve!

4. Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Curry

gluten-free

I'm really into spicy foreign-style dishes right now.  But honestly, my knowledge of cooking Indian food extends only as far as most of those bottled Tikka-Masala sauces have taken me.  I feel like such a cooking rookie admitting this fact!  Still, there's a starting point for everything, and the only way to remedy this is to start with a recipe this delicious (and straightforward) and get cookin'!  

5. Spiced Pear Butter

vegan, gluten-free 

I've had apple butter and pumpkin butter, but fresh slow-cooker pear butter just sounds flippin' amazing.  I could literally flip a table - with, like, jars of apple and pumpkin butter on it - because of how amazing it sounds.  Well, that's pretty dramatic, but dang it, I'm excited to try this fancy little recipe in my slow cooker.  And if I ever get around to learning to can stuff, I'm going to do that with all the extra pear butter I make!

6. Hoisin Chicken 

Remember what I said about being into spicy foreign-style dishes?  This one for sure applies.  I've also been trying to keep my diet full of lots of protein, cooking chicken and hard-boiling eggs for the weeks ahead to add to just about anything for a healthy, filling meal.  With this recipe, I'd have the flavor and the protein ready for any kind of meal!  Salads, rice, sandwiches... and no excuses to eat take-out!

7. Vegetable Lentil Soup

vegan, gluten-free

There just has to be a vegetable soup ready to go some nights.  I mean... it's cold, I'm hungry, I've been eating too many healthy sugar cookies, and it's time for something satisfying yet light.  (And, yes, unfortunately it is possible and so easy to eat too many healthy sugar cookies!)  And this vegetable-lentil soup looks so very delicious, I know I will be so happy to come home to it from some last-minute Christmas shopping!  Speaking of... anyone else have any last-minute shopping?  Not just me, right?  Right?!