My love of fall and winter is usually celebrated with a bout of baking many yummy seasonal things. It makes me feel all warm and wonderful inside to smell it cooking. This year, however, our oven has given out. I've found out that I really don't need an oven much, as we procrastinate about getting a new one, and have adapted some of my usual recipes to stove-top, slow cooker, grill, bread machine, or microwave. It turns out that grilled pizza is incredible, you can grill an entire chicken, my husbands favorite enchiladas are great in the crock-pot, and baked potatoes in the microwave aren't half bad. Thinking of the kids' birthdays and Thanksgiving next month, however, has made my creative problem solving rise to new heights. As part of my desire to find a way to make cupcakes without an oven I've been experimenting with muffins. And it turns out to be true that muffins can be made in a crock-pot. And, just in case you ever find yourself in a situation where this would be helpful, I'll share.
**Warning! I do not condone this... anymore. My crock-pot broke shortly after this so please, do not attempt. See my later post On Second Thought**
Slow cooker muffins are easy and likely heat up your kitchen less than making them in the oven. I would not be surprised if they saved energy too. You have to have a large slow cooker to accommodate a muffin tin, or you can use stand-alone muffin cups in a cake or bread tin. I had a 9" round cake tin that fit perfectly, slightly elevated, as it caught on the inner lip about halfway down in the crock-pot. I put stand-alone cupcake liners in the tin and filled these with my muffin mix (banana muffins). I covered the cake tin with foil, put 1/2 cup water on the bottom of the slow cooker, and covered the slow cooker. After 2 hours on high, the result was extremely moist and yummy muffins! The one downside of slow-cooker muffins is that they somehow did not smell fabulous as they were cooking. I believe it may have something to do with the steam in the crock, though the water is added to help heat conductivity. I just sighed and lit a pumpkin spice candle. Next time I think I'll try it without the water and see what the result is. I may also stack a bread tin under my cake tin and see if I can do 2 layers at once.
Now, how to roast pumpkin seeds without an oven. Hmm... skillet?
Oh, and Thanksgiving. If you have any brilliant ideas for how to make a turkey and a pumpkin pie sans oven, leave me a comment and let me know!