Category: Pam Crooks

From ‘Digester’ to the Modern-Day Instant Pot!

In my new contemporary western romance, A COWBOY AND A PROMISE, my hero’s (Beau) mother brings dinner out to the family’s ghost town resort under construction by my heroine (Ava). She made the meal, appropriately titled “Cowboy Stew” (recipe below) in a slow cooker, often called a Crockpot.

Now, I’d warrant all of you reading this has had a Crockpot at one time in your life. Maybe you still do. While the first slow cooker was actually invented in 1940, most of us will remember the Rival Crockpot, which was officially introduced in 1971 and quickly grew to be the RAGE. I got married in 1975, and you didn’t have a bridal shower (or a wedding) until you got a Rival Crockpot as a gift. We all did. In fact, I still have mine. A 4-

Rival Crockpot

quart, bright orange model. Works great to this day.

As my family grew, I graduated to a 6-quart model which I love, too. However, as most things go, even what’s been wildly popular will eventually lose its stardom for something new and exciting.

Enter the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot

Oh, be still my heart. I got mine for Christmas. A complete surprise cooked up (pardon the pun) by my daughters who thought I needed one. I admit to being quite intimidated by it at first. In fact, I didn’t even take it out of the box for a week. But once I did, and I accomplished the first step—boiling water, by the way—I was hooked.

Believe it or not, pressure cookers have been around a very long time.  The first one was

Digester

invented by a French physicist in 1679, which he called the digester. Yuck. But the name stuck for a couple of centuries, until it was replaced with ‘pressure cooker’ by the military who needed a way to make fast meals in camps, as well as other inventors working to improve canning and beef extract production.  

As the years rolled by, the pressure cooker became smaller, more user friendly, and made cooking and preserving food more economical. I’m quite sure no one expected the primitive digester to evolve into an Instant Pot that can make everything from hard-boiled eggs to yogurt so fun and easy!

Here’s the recipe for my Cowboy Stew. I’ve had this recipe for ages, and I’ve made it in my Rival Crockpot too many times to count. Beau and Ava enjoyed it, too!

Cowboy Stew

COWBOY STEW

4 medium potatoes, sliced

4 large carrots, sliced

1 green pepper, cut in strips

3 stalks celery, sliced

1 medium onion, sliced in rings

Arrange in Crockpot in layers, beginning with the potatoes. Salt and pepper each layer.

Pour 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce on top.

Mix well in a bowl:

1 lb. hamburger

½ cup milk

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 slice bread, crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

Press into circle over vegetables to form a cover. Pour another can of tomato sauce on top.  Sprinkle with ½ tsp. oregano leaves.

Cook until meat and vegetables are done. May be baked in 350 degree oven for one hour, or until vegetables are tender.

***** ***** ***** *****

Here’s my favorite Instant Pot recipe. Since IP recipes tend to be lengthy from the steps needed, I won’t type it all out, but I’ll give you the link from the food blog, Rachel Cooks. It’s DELICIOUS!

Instant Pot Pasta with Sausage, Spinach and Tomatoes

Have you ever used a pressure cooker? Do you have a slow cooker? Is it a RIVAL? How about an Instant Pot? Do you love it? Hate it? Share recipes!

Join in, and you’ll be eligible to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

 

Buy A COWBOY AND A PROMISE on Amazon!

 

Pinterest, My Friend and Inspiration!

I don’t know about you, but I’m a visual person. I need to see it to retain it. I see better than I hear.  When I see a list, I get tasks done. And organizing with colored notecards or Post-Its? 

Be still my heart.

Just the way my brain works.

So it’s no wonder that I need images when I write.  The words form much easier, flow much faster. And like any visual writer who is neck-deep in a manuscript and needing some help, I head straight for my friend, Pinterest.

Writing my contemporary western, A COWBOY AND A PROMISE, by Tule Publishing, was no different. If you’ve had a chance to read the book, you might enjoy seeing some of the images that inspired me.

If you haven’t read it yet, but want to . . .

 

 

 

Buy on Amazon

  S  P  O  I  L  E  R    A L E R T!

 

Here’s a few images, straight from my board:

When I saw this image for Beau Paxton, my hero, I thought “This is IT!”  Beau to a T.  Love, love.

 

While writing A COWBOY AND A PROMISE, my husband and I were totally binge-watching the thriller series, Homeland, and I was completely captivated by the lead character, played by Claire Danes.  Hence, Ava Howell was born.

When Ava first arrives to the Blackstone Ranch and enters the little cabin where she’ll be staying while working, one of the first things she sees is a bouquet of Indian blanket that Beau’s mother thoughtfully picked for her in welcome.  The wildflower is common in the Texas Hill Country.  Beautiful, aren’t they?

This is a diagram of a Shotgun House, which I mention in the renovation of the Paxton family’s ghost town resort on the Blackstone Ranch.  They say that a shotgun blast from the front door will go straight through the house and out the back door.  I guess it’s true, eh?

Beau buys Ava her first cowboy hat, something she resists, but this is the one she picked out.  On clearance, of course!

Another gift from Beau that Ava absolutely loves.  Can you blame her?

Something really scary happens to Beau on the ranch, and that’s all I’ll say! But this hole was my inspiration!

 

And now I’m going to stop!  I can’t give everything away, can I?

But you can see how much I depend on Pinterest.  I took a Pinterest class recently, and my teacher said Pinterest is another Google.  She’s right.  It truly is!

Did you know Petticoats & Pistols has its own Pinterest account?  Our sister filly, Julie Benson, keeps it up and running for us, and it’s hugely popular with almost 64,000 views per month!  Come follow us and check out our boards.   https://www.pinterest.com/thefillies/

How about you?  Do you use the site to find recipes?  Get help with ideas on re-decorating?  Find gifts?  Learn how to plant a garden?  The list is endless, and I’d love to hear if you enjoy it as much as I do!

Updated: February 7, 2019 — 7:47 pm
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