This is my personal blog, on which I talk about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy. Some topics are serious, others whimsical. I love comments and questions so don't be shy, just courteous, even if you don't agree with me. I have another blog, The Story Template, on which I post writing-related topics on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Let's see, a bit about me... I'm married with two children, and spend much time taking care of our family. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research. I am a Christian who came to faith under protest through studying the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus. I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. I also have written a nonfiction book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story. This book is a programmed learner-type book that helps you, the writer, develop a complete compelling story (novel or screenplay) from a vague idea.

YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Creative Slow-Cooker Meals:

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers; Spi edition (February 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Cheryl Moeller is a seasoned mother and a standup comic. She is also a syndicated columnist with her own blog (www.momlaughs.blogspot.com) and contributes monthly to several online parent websites. Cheryl has coauthored two books on marriage with her husband and has written for www.mops.org and Marriage Partnership. Cheryl does comedy for parenting classes, MOPS groups, wedding or baby showers, church retreats, women’s conferences, and those in line at the grocery store.

Visit the author's website.


From the celebrated coauthor of The Marriage Miracle comes a new kind of cookbook and a new attitude toward planning meals. With an eye toward the whole menu, not just part of it, columnist Cheryl Moeller teaches cooks to use two crockpots to easily create healthy, homemade dinners.

Don’t worry about your dinner being reduced to a mushy stew. Each of the more than 200 recipes has been taste-tested at Cheryl’s table. Join the Moeller family as you dig into:

  • Harvest-time Halibut Chowder
  • Salmon and Gingered Carrots
  • Mediterranean Rice Pilaf
  • Indian Chicken Curry
  • Apricot-Pistachio Bread
  • Shrimp Creole
  • Rhubarb Crisp

... and many more! Perfect for the frazzled mom who never has enough time in the day, Creative Slow-Cooker Meals gives readers more time around the table with delicious, healthy, frugal, and easy meals!

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99

Spiral-bound: 272 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Spi edition (February 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736944915

ISBN-13: 978-0736944915

AND NOW...THE FIFTH CHAPTER (click on pages to enlarge):


This is my kind of cookbook! The secret, according to Cheryl Moeller, is to use two slow cookers to prepare an entire meal. The book is laid out into meal category types: Breakfast; Passport to the Nations; Simple Meals; Vegetarian; Parties/Barbecues/Gatherings; and so forth. I found the categories somewhat arbitrary, and simply leafed through to find interesting recipes for my family. There were many to choose from.

Each entree gives two slow-cooker recipes, so for example, you can make French Countryside Soup along with Salmon on Gingered Carrots, or Swedish Meatballs with Gravy along with Savory Mashed Potatoes, or even Brownies in a Mug with Grapefruit Chicken. (I was skeptical of the grapefruit chicken but was so curious I had to try it, and it's fabulous!).

These recipes are easy to make: you just dump the ingredients into the cooker, then turn it on for a few hours. Some of the meals require cooking for only 3-4 hours so for these you will need to be at home to manage these or use the timer. Many recipes especially for main dishes require longer cook times. The food preparation for these meals is minimal -- you may have to chop a few vegetables, or cut up meat, but you don't have to worry with sauteing or other pre-cooking strategies. At the end all you have to do is lift the lid, perhaps prepare a quick sauce or two, then serve.

What I liked about this book: The trick of using two cookers is genius. This allows you to move beyond pot roast to prepare some sophisticated and interesting meal combinations. The recipes in here are simple and the few that I've tried are sometimes unexpected but have all been good. The author includes a nice variety of dinner personalities. This slow-cooking method allows food preparation with minimal time demands, and thus is helpful for busy people (aren't we all) and those with jobs who don't want to put in another hour preparing a meal as soon as they come home.

What I didn't like about this book: serving sizes are neglected. You can estimate how many people could eat a dinner from the amount of ingredients, but occasionally there was less meal satiety than I was counting on. Since the cookers can only be filled so high, if you have hungry boys or a large family you may need to get THREE cookers to double the main course. For my family of four it was fine.

Overall, this is a great book to help a busy person easily prepare home-cooked dinners and other foods with little time investment. The recipes are practical, not gourmet, and use easily available ingredients. A cook could use this slow cooker method several nights a week without a sense of repetition or meal fatigue. I will give this four stars out of five.

I'm grateful to Harvest House Publishers for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. I really like this book!

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