The scents of autumn are just intoxicating – apple pie, pumpkin muffins, and all of the wonderful spiciness that goes so well with cooler weather. But we can’t all bake every single day, and burning candles constantly isn’t always practical (especially for those of us that have a toddler in the house). So putting together a simmer pot immediately sprang to mind. Now, with said toddler in the house I’m also not to keen on having our gas stove on all day either.
But I found the perfect solution at Goodwill – a Crockpot Little Dipper mini crockpot. You know, the two-cup ones that they market for heated dips and whatnot? I was lucky to find a really nice (practically new) red one for $5.00 at a Goodwill in Wisconsin over the summer. And I see them often enough at the other thrift stores on my circuit as well.
The simplest simmer pot recipe I’ve done is two cups of hot water (always start with hot, the spices steep faster that way), a small handful of whole cloves and a couple of cinnamon sticks. Now if you have a gigantic house, it’s not going to perfume your whole place, but our apartment is about 1000 square feet, and it makes the kitchen smell great, and you can get some nice whiffs of it in the living room (right next door to the kitchen). And it’s so small you can easily move it into the room you want. After the kiddo goes to bed, I just move it into the living room where we’re hanging out.
You can basically add anything that smells good to your simmer pots – citrus peels, apple peels, nutmeg, allspice berries – what ever you like. I recommend using whole spices though instead of ground. They seem to be more aromatic and less messy. Change out the spices when they start to lose their aroma – you can get anywhere from 3 days to a week out of them usually, depending upon the quality. And check the water periodically – you may need to top it up a bit if a lot starts to evaporate, and you may want to change the water halfway through the week. I like to leave the lid off of my Little Dipper so the scent really wafts through the house. You could also switch out the water for apple juice or cider to punch up the apple aroma.
So, keep your eyes peeled for a Crockpot Little Dipper – it’s the perfect solution to making your home smell amazing – like you’ve been baking all day!