Nicole and I both LOVE a good party! Even if they cause some stress and craziness before the event, it is all worth it when our homes are busting at the seams with conversation, laughter, friends, family, and kiddos running around.
From getting the house cleaned top to bottom, serving dishes ready, decorations prepared, invitations, the list goes on! But with The Entertainer chapter in our new cookbook It’s Our Crockin’ Life we were on a mission to make food prep one less thing to stress about! Not only does it free up time for you to take care of other party prep obligations, but it stays perfectly warm until everyone is ready to eat! There are lots of great party dishes in this chapter that will definitely make your get together a success!
In May we threw Stella a “Puppies That Wear Crowns” party per her request… HA! She loved every second of her one of a kind themed party. Here are some pics of that tail waggin’ good time…
My mother-in-law recently celebrated her 58th birthday… She is constantly doing for others, so it was the family’s chance to do for her. Now if we would have suggested all getting together to eat, she would have insisted on cooking the food herself- and that just wasn’t in the plan for us… so we had to make it a surprise!
We decided on frying up some fish and having a pool party at my brother in law and sister in law’s house, and Stanton kept her occupied for the day while the rest of us party prepped.
Everyone brought their own dish to compliment the meal- and with the wild and crazy week we had with shipping books out, I knew my dish would have to be crockin’! The DELICIOUS shrimp jambalaya that we will be featuring in an upcoming video was the perfect answer! Another complementary crockin’ side was the crock of beans my sister in law brought. It was nice to have two things that didn’t have to be cooked in the last minutes before she arrived for the surprise, and they stayed warm so nicely in programmable crocks. She was surprised, the food was great, and a good time was had by all! SUCCESS!
Recipes that are perfect for entertaining:
Hey y’all! It’s that time again- with the launch of the new cookbook It’s Our Crockin’ Life we are hitting the road to do book signings! We don’t have all the details on a few signings and things are subject to change, but we will make those changes as they come and keep this updated!
Friday 14: Doc’s Drugstore, Early TX 11-1
Saturday 15: Texas Star Trading Company, Abilene TX 11-1
Saturday 5: Blanton Caldwell, Albany TX 11-2
Wednesday 9: Hendrix Medical Center Gift Shop, Abilene TX 11-2
Thursday 10: Bradbury Lane, Richardson TX 5-8
Saturday 12: Mills County General Store, Goldthwaite TX 11-2
Tuesday 22: The Kitchenette, Atlanta TX 6-8 *Cooking Class and Signing
Saturday 26: Wild West Show, Dodge City KS
Thursday 8: Sweet Gourmet, Tyler TX 10:30
Sunday 18: Positively YOUnique, Granbury TX 10-12
Thursday 22: Texas Threads, Hereford TX 5-7
Friday 23: McWilliams Pharmacy, Snyder TX
Saturday 24: The Vintage House, Carrollton TX 11-4
Tuesday 27: Out of the Box, Houston TX
Thursday 12: Ace Home Place, Stephenville TX 7-9
Saturday 14: Early Blooms and Things, Early TX 1-3
Thursday 19: Spice, Waco TX
Friday 20: Paper Affair, Frisco TX
Saturday 21: Amazing Grace, Madill OK 12
One of the more common requests we get on our Facebook page is for recipes that aren’t so big! This was a little difficult for us because we both love us some leftovers, but we admit it will be nice to have some recipes in our collection that can be cooked when we know the leftovers will not be eaten, or for the occasional date night! That is why we knew we had to create a chapter for those who want smaller recipes… introducing The Empty Nester!
We hear so often that cooking isn’t as fun when it is just for one or two and that it isn’t worth messing up the kitchen. Or that there are so many leftovers with our sometimes big crockin’ recipes that they go to waste. That’s no good! We want to make cooking fun again no matter how many you are cooking for! And these recipes will not leave you with too many leftovers to handle.
When she’s not cooking for all of our crews, one recipe (even from The Empty Nester) will last Nanny a while since she is just cooking for one. The day or two of extra food is great for her in case she is not feeling up to cooking. But no matter what, crockin’ is a great choice for her because she is not having to stand over the stove. Thanks Nanny for always showing your love for us by keeping our tummies (too) full!
Even living in chaos daily, with toys strewn throughout the house, dishes piled up in the sink, and more laundry to do than I care to acknowledge, I know that I will miss these days. I know that when the house still, the kitchen is clean, laundry is done, and things are quiet I will remember the days of chaos with a longing to go back.
So for now I will probably stick to the big recipes with leftovers, outside of the occasional need for a small dish. I will relish in the fact that I have a full nest for the time being :) As you can see- our home is not quite to the Empty Nester phase, but I know it will be here all too soon!
When putting our new book, “It’s Our Crockin’ Life“, together, we had no hesitation in creating the Explorer chapter (could be one of our FAVES!). You see, Jenna and I would not consider ourselves typical crockers. In fact, we are far from it! Most people think of crock pot recipes being strictly stews and pot roasts and our crockin’ cookin’ is waaaaay beyond this. Both Jenna and I are creative individuals. While I love to scrapbook and Jenna loves to sew, we knew in creating this chapter we really wanted our personalities to shine through and to put together a chapter full of your non-typical slow cooker recipes—even non-edible recipes too!
Along with being creative, I would definitely say there has always been an explorer side in me. I grew up on a ranch and loved exploring on my four-wheeler. One of my favorite memories I have is packing a backpack full of snacks and drinks and loading up on the four-wheelers with my family and all of us taking a ride to either look for deer sheds (antlers, that is) throughout the property or taking the back road to the nearest town. I could drive for hours on my four-wheeler. You would even catch my friends and I hooking up anything sturdy enough to pull behind the four-wheeler and taking turns pulling each other through cow manure…..yep, it’s insanely true! I can hear us laughing hysterically now!!!! And SMELL us too!
I’m also a roller coaster junkie and am proud to announce that I introduced my husband to his first roller coaster! HOLLA! He is not so much a roller coaster fan, but my little Gracie girl is. She absolutely LOVES the rush of adrenaline from them all! Now, we don’t like the roundy-round ones all so much, but anything with a good drop WE ARE IN! Talking about the roundy-round ones, my Gager boy cannot stand anything that is going to get his stomach (not even a swing) and my sweet M-I-L took him to the park for fun and started spinning him on the merry-go-round. She said he turned completely green and well, you know what comes after that! YUCK!
I like to embrace adventures and new experiences, but I’m definitely not spontaneous. I like to do my research and really think about my decisions first. With that being said, I really thought I would surprise my hubby recently when I came to him in May, a couple of days before our anniversary, and said “you know, I’ve always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon and I think we should just load up this weekend and drive out there!” (16 hour drive!) My “oh-so-VERY-spontaneous” husband looked at me like I had lost my mind and wondered where his wife had gone!
We headed out in June for a family vacay to the Grand Canyon and it was so much FUN! On the way up we checked out the Meteor Crater in Winslow, AZ and made sure we checked into an Embassy Suites or the “Big E” as my kids call it, to take advantage of happy hour and swim time for the kids. Then we headed onto Flagstaff, AZ. We did a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon…..absolutely amazing! and then went to the Grand Canyon afterwards and took many many pictures and walked all kind of trails. WOW….what an amazing feeling to stand out there overlooking this magnificent greatness on this earth we live in. To stand out there and take it all in with my family is a memory I will have for the rest of my life. Seeing my kids faces light up in awe was priceless!
We then made our way to Bearizona! The kids loved seeing all the animals and we got some good laughs watching the little bear cubs. We also got to go the Out of Africa Wildlife Park. Kris and I were able to zip line for the very first time. We watched the tiger splash show and the predator feed. This was right up Gage’s alley as he LOVES anything to do with wild cats. Our trip was full of laughs and we made lots of memories! It literally takes the stars to align perfectly for us to take a vacay together as a family of four. On the way back home, both kids thanked us for the fun journey that had just experienced and Gage reminded us that it was our very first vacay with just us four. Talk about striking the heart just a tad…..so we made a pact to jump in the car and go EXPLORE together every summer from now on!
Don’t be afraid to unleash the explorer side in you in the kitchen! What’s the worst that can happen? Yes, you might have a flop….Jenna and I have had many, but it hasn’t stopped us from trying different things and altering recipes to perfectly suit our families! We hope you explore our new book, “It’s Our Crockin’ Life”, and become a non-typical crocker just like us!
Happy Crockin’ Y’all!