I am a member of Project Envolve, which is sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities. I received compensation in exchange for my tips on using a slow cooker and other ways to lower your electric bill. All opinions are my own. #ProjectEnvolve #GetEnvolved
The Project Envolve Ambassadors took a short hiatus at the beginning of the year, but never fear! We have all been hard at work, coming up with new and interesting ways to bring you energy savings tips and reminders on how to cut your energy bill all year long. Big or small, every bit of savings helps, and February is prime time for trying to get that bill as low as it will go.
Back in November, I shared tips on how to winterize your home. This month, my energy-efficient mission is to focus on fun, family, and those energy-efficiency tips that seem small but will definitely add up as you notice they require less of both kinds of energy – the kind you get billed for and the kind your body doesn’t have at the end of a long day.
Both valuable. Both definitely worth conserving!
Slow Cooker to the Rescue
As you know from a few previous energy efficiency posts, we PE bloggers are big fans of slow cooker recipes. Why? Because they save energy, as well as time. And, after making a new year’s resolution to spend more quality time with my family and then falling short of that already, the slow cooker is one secret weapon I can’t live without.
This may seem simple, but it’s the best slow cooker tip I have: Own more than one! In addition to the big guy you use for stews and such, invest a few bucks into a mini crock pot. Then you can start dessert in one slow cooker while serving dinner out of the other. There are so many slow cooker dessert recipes you can make with just a tiny bit of energy, from cobblers and cakes to puddings and deep dish pies, but it doesn’t get much easier than this one – a 2-ingredient dip that tastes just like a rich slice of strawberry cheesecake.
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese or Neufchatel
- 1 jar strawberry jam or preserves
- graham crackers, for dipping
- Combine cream cheese and jam in a small slow cooker. Turn on low heat and warm until melted, whisking occasionally to blend smoothly. Once mixture is well blended, serve with graham crackers
As long as you have a few blocks of cream cheese, a jar of jam, and a mini slow cooker, you’re set.
Add a few graham crackers and you’ll have all the flavor of a rich strawberry cheesecake, without any of the fuss (and without cranking the oven up for hours!)
Get to know your slow cooker a little better here: SLOW COOKER MYTHS, DEBUNKED
Once you set it and forget it, it’s time to get out the board games or books. Unplugging with the family counts as “quality time” in more ways than one. Studies show that regularly sharing family dinners, without the distraction of electronics, can positively affect your child’s physical fitness, mental health, stress level, academic performance, overall attitude and even their likelihood to engage in risky behaviors or fall victim to cyberbullying.
It’s pretty amazing what that quality time can do, which is why I’m such a fan of making a whole night of it. Reconnect over a recipe, gather around a board game, or browse Pinterest for a family project. Challenge the family to an “eco-brainstorm” and set some green goals, then create a checklist to keep everyone motivated. [Print a FREE Goal Tracker here.]
It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you’re engaging with your those around you instead of a screen. Make it a habit, and both your future family and your energy bill will thank you!