I’m writing this post as a Project Envolve™ Ambassador. I have not been compensated for this post, but I did receive a promotional item to facilitate energy savings in my home.
In all my years, I’ve never spent a winter at home.
I’ve always worked full-time, and we’ve always had a pretty steady electric bill. But now that I’m home all day with 2 kids, WOW. The electric bill is all over the place! (…and not in a good way.)
I’ve decided to head into January with a mission: reduce our electric usage by 10%. We’re trying to make changes in every room of the house, but I spend the bulk of my time in the kitchen, so I know that’s really the place to start being more aware.
…and it just so happens that my new goal lines right up with my 2nd mission as a Project Envolve™ Blogger! This month, our mission is to inspire kitchen efficiency during the winter months when baking and roasting can drive energy costs through the roof.
PPL Electic Utilities is the primary sponsor of Project Envolve, so they’ve sent over a few kitchen efficiency tips for me to share with you.
Feeling inspired? I love the onion ring idea!
The 5th tip I have is the one that I use the most: slow cooking! Using a countertop slow cooker uses only the fraction of the energy an oven would use, and you get the added benefit of being able to turn it on and walk away.
A great-smelling house doesn’t hurt, either! Who doesn’t love walking in the front door and remembering that you did yourself the favor of preparing dinner ahead of time? Total food win.
Here’s a slow cooker favorite that we’re making a lot this winter. It’s inspired by this kid-appropriate turkey chili recipe at SkinnyTaste.com, but we use grass-fed beef cubes instead. They get fall-apart tender in the slow cooker, and I like the texture a lot better than ground meats. Lots of colorful veggies add interest, and the spices are nice and mild, so it’s just right for kids. My son loves it, and I love that cooking it saves energy in our home!
Kid-Friendly Slow Cooker Beef Chili
- 1 lb beef stew cubes
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 1/2 cups diced bell pepper (we use 1/2 of a yellow, orange and red pepper and save the rest for snacking.)
- 28 oz can Muir Glen Diced Tomatoes
- 2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup water
- salt and pepper, to taste
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown beef cubes. (Sprinkle with salt and pepper while browning.) Add beef to crock pot.
In the same pan, heat the oil, then sauté the onion until translucent, adding the garlic at the very end for about a minute to brown. Add to slow cooker along with bell pepper, tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, paprika and salt, mix until well blended. Pour beef broth into the crock pot and add the bay leaf.
Cook on low for approx. 4 hours. If chili gets too thick, add 1 cup of water halfway through cooking.
Garnish with diced avocado and shredded Cheddar, if desired. Enjoy! Serves 4–6.
How do you save energy in your home? Do your efforts change seasonally? Visit the other Project Envolve Ambassadors to see how they’re saving energy this winter, too.