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Special Guest Jenn Bare Shares Her Secret to Balancing it All

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Jenn Bare is a Mom, Chef and the Crock-Pot® Girl – the official brand ambassador for Crock-Pot® Slow Cookers. She hosts a weekly segment for "Mom Monday" on ABC-15 in Phoenix with a goal to share fun activities and important information with moms (and dads!) everywhere. Jenn started her career as a competitive dancer & cheerleader for the NFL's St. Louis Rams. She went on to earn a BS in Business from SIU and MBA in International Business from ASU. She then worked all over the world managing projects, sparking her love for travel, culture, food & people.

Jenn came home from traveling to have a family & founded, the No. 1 resource for slow cooking, building her online following to over 1.5 million. She innovates recipes daily from around the world with her favorite tool in the kitchen, the slow cooker. Jenn has a secret passion to be on "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Chew." In this article, she shares some of her kitchen secrets.

A Day in My Life
It's hot for this time of year – a rainy weekend means our typically warm weather is more humid than usual, which us Arizonans are not used to (it really is a "dry heat!"). As loads of sweaty kids hop in school buses and cars ready to head home, I pick up my daughter and remind her it's Tuesday – that means straight to dance class after school.  It's not just any Tuesday, though - it's the week of a dance competition and that means an intensive dance class finished off with a dress rehearsal. We'll be at the studio longer than normal and she'll need to wear her costume with full hair and makeup. 

In an attempt to be more involved with school activities and to show my daughter the importance of exercise, I just finished volunteering all day at the school's annual field day. After taking the baby and dog on a morning walk, photographing recipes for an upcoming blog post (while the baby was sleeping) and testing a new recipe with three different cuts of beef to see which will taste the best, I'm a bit tired but I tell myself "I've got this."

Tomatillo Lime ChickenTomatillo Lime Chicken

My Tomatillo Lime Chicken recipe is in the slow cooker at home and dance practice is over at 6:30, which means plenty of time for family dinner, homework, bath time and a few books before bed - after which I will run out to get goodies for Teachers' Appreciation Week and our upcoming road trip.

Living a busy life between kids, a husband and an aging dog, running my own business, managing a household, and spending a little time on myself can be busy and hectic. My Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker has really been a lifesaver and a stress reducer! In fact, when I started my recipe website four years ago, one of the reasons was to help busy families like mine actually be able to spend time around the dinner table eating together.

Print out this meal chart for your family.Print out this meal chart for your family.

On a typical day, I'll get the kids up in the morning and put dinner that I've already prepped in my slow cooker so that I don't have to think about cooking all day until it's time to eat. I usually meal plan and grocery shop on Sundays in between prepping for my weekly segment on ABC and will post the weekly meal plan for my family to see in the kitchen. Moms – how many times do you get asked "What's for dinner?" Well, printing out this meal chart can help avoid that age-old question!

I almost always double a recipe so we have leftovers. Oftentimes, I will eat any remaining leftovers for lunch or incorporate them into a new recipe to enjoy. As an example, I love making this Chicken Tortilla Soup with leftover chicken! When starting with cooked chicken, you can reduce cooking time in half if you're in a hurry - but don't worry, you can let it simmer all day if needed, too!

How does your Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker help you enjoy dinner with your family even in the hustle and bustle of a busy day?



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