The industrious cook is always seeking new recipes to try in the family slow cooker. The introduction of the slow cooker to the kitchen in a sense revolutionized the evening meal and cookbooks and later websites abounded with the latest version of “try this.”
But did you know that your slow cooker isn’t just limited to cooking those meatballs or that pot roast? Here are some creative ways to use your slow cooker.
Like to make your own candles? All you need are your old candles that no longer light, some wicks and some heat-proof glass containers. Use your slow cooker to melt down the old wax and form the candles in the glass containers.
Rather than tossing away money on air fresheners, why not throw some water, baking soda and the essential oil of your choice into your slow cooker. Put it on the low setting without the lid and in just a few hours your house will smell fresh and clean.
Here’s one you can do with and for the kids. Make your own play dough. Use these ingredients.
Put your slow cooker on the low setting. When it warms, add and stir the dry ingredients, then add the water and oil. Cover and turn the heat to high. Stir every 20 minutes for the next two hours and your mixture should be ready. Test it by forming a ball with the dough. You can separate the dough into about five portions and add food coloring. Store in a zip lock bag and you’ve got homemade play dough that will last about 3 or 4 months.
Need to dye some yarn or fabric for a special project? You can use your slow cooker to do that. But be careful with the dye, some of them aren’t food safe. So check your labels or better yet use an old cooker that you won’t use again for food. Whatever your choice of dye, you can use the slow cooker as the dye bath and the heat source to help set the dye.
Does your family like holiday party mix, the kind usually made with Chex cereal? Rather than having to stir the pan in the oven you can follow the regular Chex (or other) recipe and do the baking in your slow cooker. Just cook uncovered on high for about 90 minutes, turn it down on low for another 20 minutes. Spread the mix out to cool.
If you got a little careless on that last painting project and you need to restore some hardware for your doors or cabinet, a slow soak in a crock pot can bring your metal back to life. All it takes is the slow cooker with water and a small amount of liquid detergent. In most cases the paint will just slide right off, but for the stubborn spots a gentle scrubbing with a nylon brush will finish the job.
Cookie cutter ornaments made out of salt-based dough are always a good project for the holidays. Rather than baking these in your oven, you can bake them for a few hours in your slow cooker. Let them cool before painting.
Finally, when your slow cooker gives up the ghost you can use the crockery as a pot for plants, and broken crockery can be used as fill in for your garden where it won’t degrade in the ground.
Your slow cooker doesn’t have to be limited to just convenience at meal time. With a little bit of creativity, and caution, in several of the projects listed above you’ll find your slow cooker can be one of your most valuable purchases.