National Slow Cooker Month

Clearly, the US is a country of foodies.

That seems to be the only logical explanation for the plethora of foodie holidays. There are special months and unique days filling the calendar. Indeed, there are hardly any free days left. And that means that there’s plenty of overlap. Take January as an example. Not only is it National Soup Month, but it’s also National Slow Cooker Month. And, those are just the beginning – there are more.

But, let’s consider these two foodie months for just a moment. They might give you some clues to healthy eating in 2015.

National Soup Month

Everyone knows what soup is. There are some people that love it and others that could easily do without it. There are traditional chicken noodle soups (known as the Jewish penicillin) and creamy tomato soups. Depending on how expansive your definition of soup, you’ve also got bouillon and thick, stewish-styled soups. And with all these soups, it’s clear that soup isn’t a fad.

These days though, most people tend to have soup at home by pouring it out of a can and heating it through. There’s a misconception that soups take ages to make – and that they’re not a complete meal on their own. Both of these are false. There are some soups that would never fill your belly, and there are soups that take a long time, but they’re hardly the majority.

In fact, soup is one of the best ways to get your portion sizes right. That’s because most soups call for many more vegetables than ounces of meat. And, because soup is served hot, eating it tends to feel satisfying. But, getting the benefits from soup typically means making it at home. Fortunately, most soups take very little time and energy to make.

National Slow Cooker Month

A lot of people grew up with a crockpot in the house. And, some people have fond memories of returning to a house filled with incredible smells. But, slow cookers fade in and out of fashion; that’s because they’re largely associated with old-fashioned comfort foods – like stew.

But, the thing about slow cookers is that you can make anything from pulled pork to beef stroganoff in them. And, it will take you almost no time at all. That’s cool. More, there’s a new range of slow cookers hitting the market. You can control these from your smartphone which means that you can switch it off and on from the office now. That’s worth celebrating, isn’t it? One can only expect foodies to begin reveling in the updated slow cooker trend any day now.

Adding Hot Sauce to Soup and Slow Cooker Recipes

Most soup and slow cooker recipes shy away from hot sauce in the ingredient list. What a person can tolerate in terms of capsaicin heat is so personal and subjective that it’s difficult to suggest the optimum amount in a recipe. That and every hot sauce has a different blend of flavors that accompany the fire. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t add a pinch of hot sauce to these recipes. Unless you’ve got your hands on one of our Mad Dog recipes that call for hot sauce in a particular step, you can follow these tips.

Many soup recipes begin with a sauté step. If you’re quickly coating onions with oil and softening them, an ideal time to add your hot sauce is at this step. Wait until onions are almost soft, then pour in a small amount of hot sauce and stir to coat. Otherwise, you’ll want to wait until you’ve added the liquid and add your hot sauce incrementally. For slow cooker recipes, whisk your hot sauce with your stock or other wet ingredients before pouring it into your crockpot. Give it a taste and add more hot sauce (if needed) in the last half hour to an hour of cooking.

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