Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Iron levels on the rise...

After weeks of weariness and a 'dragging-my-feet' visit to the doctor, it turns out that I'm not getting enough iron in my diet. 

Now, according to the doctor the best sources of iron are eggs, leafy greens and red meat.

Eggs - check! I have one for breakfast every day. Go me.

Leafy Greens - okay, well, I could always step this one up. But honestly, I'm not doing too badly in this area.

And Red Meat - Well! This one I almost never do.  I didn't realize it until I stopped to really think about it, but unless I'm out at a restaurant (and even then it's not that often) or for dinner at mum and dad's, I pretty much never eat red meat.

No, I'm not a vegetarian.  (If you know me at all, you're probably laughing at that thought).  No, it's because even after 30 years, I still haven't figured out how to cook red meat!

Now, it's not as if I haven't tried.  I go through phases where I put strips of steak in stirfries, and there was that beef curry I cooked for mum and dad last week.  But the fact that it took us each about 5 minutes to chew each piece of meat was pretty typical.

I've been given instructions, and I've tried to follow them: Seal the meat in a hot pan, then put it on simmer for a loooonnnngggg time.  But it doesn't matter - it's still as tough as leather.  So I tend to stick to fish or chicken, which I know how to cook.

But yesterday, while I was at Woollies pondering my dilemma (do I buy and murder some red meat or not?), I noticed these on sale for $20:

Ah-HA!  Slow cookers are supposed to be SUPER easy, right? You throw in your meat, veggies and some sort of spice/flavour, and then you just walk away for ages.  And when you come back the meat is tender, and delicious, and your iron levels rise quickly and impressively.

So I'm now the proud owner of a small 1.5L slow cooker, and I've prepared the meat and vegies, and I'm going to duck home at lunch today to 'put it on' for dinner.  Sound be excellent - wish me luck!

xo Tammy

PS.  Just as a question for all those slow cookerers out there: all the instructions I read recommend that I seal the meat in a fry pan before I put it in the slow cooker... but that's kind of annoying, isn't it? I mean isn't the whole point of the slow cooker that I don't have to do anything but throw things in and turn it on?  I'm wondering what would happen if I didn't bother with that 'sealing the meat first' thing.... what do you think? I mean, how bad could it be? ..... (Are you starting to get an inkling for why the things I cook don't always turn out?)


  1. I never seal the meat first. I'm also iron deficient, and I find eating more red meat is more effective than taking iron tablets.

  2. Slow cookers are awesome! I've never sealed the meat and my Mum uses them a couple of times a week and never seals the meat... and it tastes great.. although having never sealed the meat I don't have anything to compare it to, lol.

  3. Yay!! This is how I overcame my fear of red meat!!! :) I think maybe you mean 'sear' the meat, more than 'seal' the meat - and it's just browning it in a hot fry pan in oil, and it's 100% for the taste. A lot of recipes say 'to save time, skip browning the meat first and just throw it all in the slow cooker' (maybe in more professional recipe-ish words) but yes, it's just for taste :) Looking forward to hearing how it goes, what are you making?!! :) PS: $20 is a bargain!!

  4. I never sear it. I just put it in. I have done it both ways and I honestly couldn't tell the difference. So if I can't tell the difference, then why to the extra work I say?

    Also you can't go too wrong in a slow cooker! I hope it tastes yummy! (lucky Jonny!!!)

  5. I have no advice regarding slow cookers... and all i'm usually instructed to do is cut the vegetables the night before and mum throws all the yumminess in the morning!

    EACH SPINACH all the time! Popeye did and he's loving life!

  6. I hope you get a lot of use out of it Tam. Happy cooking and eating! :)

  7. $20 woot woot.
    Like Abby said it's just for taste. I think maybe it just seals the juices in or something? ...I may have made that up :P
    But yes, I never bother browning the meat first. Too lazy, lol. The reason I use the slow cooker is so I don't have to use any fry pans or put in any effort :P
    Love you!
    And hope you're feeling a heap better and bouncy-er

  8. You can now buy a slow cooker (for a fairly large amount of money) that has a "browning" function. So you do it all in the one pot! Genius!
    I can tell the difference when I've seared it. Or maybe it was a different cut of meat that time!?!?!? But it works beautifully without browning it first as the others have all said. My favourite meat to use in it is chuck steak or..... lamb shanks. Oh my, lamb shanks in the slow cooker..... to cie for! *sigh*