Crock-Pot Slow Cooker with eLume Touchscreen Technology: Saves Busy Moms Time in the Kitchen

03/12/2009 at 11:45 AM ET

I am one of those people who really loves to cook but who has the misfortune of having to do it in a tiny kitchen. Since I am so short on space I don’t really invest a lot in fancy gadgets (and any good cook will tell you you don’t really need them anyway). Because of this, when I was asked to review the new Crock-Pot Slow Cooker with eLume Touchscreen Technology I was very curious. Until now, slow-cooking to me meant braising for four hours in my Dutch Oven. I couldn’t begin to imagine what the Crock-Pot could do for me.

When I first received my new Crock-Pot I was kind of at a loss as to what to do with it. I looked through the cookbook that came with it but the recipes all seemed kind of intimidating. Luckily, CBB Reviewer Kristen had sent me her favorite slow cooker recipe for BBQ Ribs (it’s at the bottom of this review) and it looked pretty easy so I tried it out. After six nerve-wracking hours where I literally had to fight the urge to lift the lid off the Crock-Pot and check out what was happening under there (you really shouldn’t lift the lid of a Crock-Pot when the food is still cooking because it interferes with cooking temperature), my husband declared the ribs “the best ribs ever” and the wheels in my head started turning.

After that meal I began to try other recipes, and then even began to experiment with them to add my own twist to meals. It took me a little less than a week (about four meals) before I felt comfortable using the Crock-Pot the way that it was meant to be used: turning it on in the morning before work (or, in my case, playgroup) and coming home to a great-smelling meal. Once I realized that it was safe to leave it on during the day, even when I wasn’t home, I began relying on it more and more and cannot believe that I was a working mom for two years and did not own one of these gadgets!

The eLume Programmable Slow Cooker is a newer model that has a touch screen user interface. It is a 6.5 quart oval slow that cooker features a countdown control panel and an auto-shift to warm function. I like this particular function because I once over-estimated how long we would be out of the house and this feature kind of saved our meal (it stays on the warm feature for up to six hours).

So what makes it cost $130? Unfortunately it doesn’t buy or prepare the ingredients for you. You’re paying extra for the eLume Touchscreen technology. It is a flat, digitized surface which is very easy to use and even easier to clean (just turn off the machine and swipe your sponge over the surface). Also, this particular model is programmable in half-hour increments for up to 20 hours. It has two cooking settings — Low and High — as well as the Warm setting (which you do not use to cook) and it runs only on a timer.

This particular machine also happens to be really sleek looking so if you have limited space like me, you won’t mind having to store it out in the open. Quite honestly, my only complaint about this particular slow-cooker is that the wire is not long enough to reach from my 12 inches of counter space to the only outlet I have in my kitchen (right above my sink). However, I own one of those over-the-sink cutting boards and that is what I place the Crock-Pot on when I am using it.

Also worth mentioning is the new Trio Cook & Serve. I haven’t tried it but for someone who entertains a lot, it looks like the ideal gadget. It’s made up of three 2.5 quart slow cookers with individual temperature controls and can cook up to three different dishes at once.

Bottom Line: The eLume Programmable Slow Cooker is definitely pricey at $130, but you can still get a nice Crock-Pot without all the bells and whistles starting at $20.

Teba

Kristen’s Pork Ribs a la Crock-Pot

  1. Cut pork ribs into portions of about 4 ribs each so they fit in the pot.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and put them under the broiler for 15 mins to crisp them up a bit.  (I put them on foil to avoid mess.)
  3. Put them in the crock pot.
  4. Dump a bottle of your favorite bbq sauce over the top.
  5. Cook until Daddy gets home.

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Showing 19 comments

l on

I know that CBB gets lately quite some negative feedback from readers about the products you’re reviewing/advertising. But looking at this item here, who can blame us? Never ever would I leave my house with an electrical device still operating and most certainly not for that many hours. You never know what can happen, if you’ll be back in time, if the appliance’s auto-shifts (turning it off/ to warm function) will work properly, and so forth. And this doesn’t seem to be an energy-saving tool as well.
Teba, you were right, good cooks don’t need any of these fancy gadgets.

——–

Fancy gadget? Just because it’s silver doesn’t mean it’s not practical or economical. The slow cooker allows you to turn inexpensive ingredients like cheap cuts of meat or beans into an amazing and affordable meal.

The slow cooker was introduced in 1971 and was one of the hottest pieces of kitchen equipment our mothers owned. And it’s made a resurgence in the last few years. According to marketing research firm NPD Group, 83% of US households own one and almost half have used theirs within the past month.

— Danielle

maureen on

the crockpot = my best friend

Boysmom on

I leave my crockpot on while I am at work on a weekly basis. Never had a problem. Haven’t working women been doing that for years?

Lisa on

Leaving a CP plugged in is safe, our mothers and grandmothers did it for goodness sakes. Mine too is a sleek silver model that set me back $30 at walmart. I use mine 3-4 times a week making everything from mac n cheese to chicken alfredo. Especially with the economy the way it is having a CP is a money saver, it does very well with those cheap cuts of meat.Oprah had a great show yesterday about this very thing.

l on

Dear Danielle, just because most people own one thing doesn’t mean it’s the ne plus ultra nobody should live without (for example, many people own and drive an SUV and yet this type of car is one of the highest fuel wasting ones). “Almost half have used” the slow cooker means more than a half have not. What about energy that’s been wasted while leaving the slow cooker on warm-function, what about the nutrients that will get lost during this process, what about the general safety issues I have mentioned above? Sorry if I stepped on your toes.



We didn’t say that this is something you can’t live without- Teba simply said it’s a great item for busy moms. In addition to 40% of Americans using them on a regular basis, four CBB readers added their positive feedback. It sounds like this product is not for you so don’t worry about it!

— Danielle

katie on

I love my crockpot. I use it at least twice a week, if not more and have NEVER had a problem with it. We got ours at Target for about 30 bucks and have had it for years and it still works great.

nanjhnyc on

Thanks Teba, I’ve been intrigued with crockpots for a while but nervous to keep an appliance on (even on low) so this review, chock full of real-world info convinced me to give it a chance.

Lisa on

Do some research I.

5.Slow cookers are energy efficient.
What? You thought that leaving your slow cooker plugged in and cooking all day was a waste of energy? Think again. A crock pot uses wraparound heat to cook the food, without wasting all the heat that would simmer away in an oven or stove top. You actually use less energy.

taken from:
http://www.articlesbase.com/crockpot-recipes-articles/quick-and-easy-how-crock-pots-simplify-your-hectic-life-411605.html

Melanie on

Thanks for the excellent review on the crockpot…they are safe to leave on for the day or overnight, I just bought a new stainless stel one and LOVE it. Food tastes amazing in it, and so little effort – I need to use recipes though, I’m not a good guesser. They do save energy, research it. You will love a crockpot!

Simone on

I got mine for a wedding gift (registry) and LOOOVE it! I only make pot roast or brisket in it and it is very low energy. I would assume it uses the same amount if you plug anything in. It is not like a high raging heat cooking food. Hence the reason it is SLOW cooking for hours🙂 I love when I put it on in the morning/Sunday and by afternoon dinner is ready and the kitchen smells amazing (trust me y our husband will be happy)! I will try the ribs – thanks!

Rae on

I guess I’m just confused as to what a crock pot has to do with babies/motherhood/parenting, etc.

This has as much relevance as a vacuum or toaster advertisement. Doesn’t fit with the theme of this site…

Sarah on

I was so excited to see a crockpot on here! I received one for Xmas and it’s been amazing.
We are a farming family and that makes it hard when I come in from the fields after working all day to have energy to make dinner. All too often we would opt for something like McDonalds which was a waste of money AND horrid for our bodies.

I use my crockpot alot and surprisingly it’s cut back on grocery cost. I buy dried beans (.69 a bag!) and make chilli, pea soup, you name it. It simmers all day (when I go downtown I put it on the keep warm option and it works just as well)
You can even make apple butter, bread, bbq sauce, casserole.. you name it!
In the morning I sometimes pop in some steak or chops, add my homemade bbq sauce and when we get home at night we have tender, delicious dinner.

Molly on

I read this review hoping to find out more information about this specific crock pot. I have used a crock pot regularly over the past several years, so the idea of the crock pot as a very useful kitchen tool is not foreign to me (obviously “I” just doesn’t get it, but whatever). However, I am very disappointed with my current programmable crock pot and was hoping to find out more information about this specific model and its settings. Is it fully programmable for any amount of time? How many heat settings? Does it run on a clock or just a timer? What about the touch screen makes it worth $130? I guess these are just a few of the basic details I would have hoped to see in a product review.

April on

Once I found recipes I loved, the crock pot is my favorite!

kim on

I need to get me one of these. It will help me spend more time with my kids.

Cynthia on

Molly complains that the review is not comprehensive enough, yes every single question she asks about the crock pot IS ANSWERED in Teba’s review!! Sounds like someone is a little sleep deprived😉

Rae asked, basically, what does this have to do with motherhood or babies? Well, how much time do you (assuming you do have kids) have to make dinner on a daily basis? It fits with the theme of the site because having kids pretty much always means sacrificing time to cook labor intensive delicacies for hours (if you’re into that) or sacrificing the financial ability to order expensive takeout all the time–a crock pot can give you delicious healthy and inexpensive meals with virtually no effort whatsoever. That’s what it has to do with this site.

Kristi on

Rae: The reason why this suggestion for a crockpot is on this site is because like many working mothers once we get off work, pick up the kids, we have a 2-3 hr window to fit in baths, dinner, laundry, etc before bedtime. This is just an fabulous appliance (that I just used last night) that will give us a bit more time with our families during the week instead of standing in the kitchen cooking and then cleaning up afterwards.

Jenna Gennaro on

I appreciate this review. I have a crockpot and come from a family of women who use them to cook delicious meals for their families. You would be surprised at all the things you can make in a crock pot.

It is a shame that the reviewer got such flack for this. This makes me sad. Sad because my gut reaction is that the people who are complaining about this product either 1) Buy fast food and take out and do not cook for their families or have the nanny cook for them; 2) Look down their nose at the crock pot as being too “country,” “kitsch” or something and beneath them or 3) All of the above.

Ashley on

To comment to all the ‘backlash’:

I thought the review was very well written and informative. It included all the information you’d want to know before purchasing the item. Even WHY it was more expensive than regular crock pots. That was the first question that came to mind as I started reading it.

As for “I”‘s comments:
Crock pots are very energy efficient. The lids get hot but the sides of my crock pot stay cool to the touch and do not radiate heat like an oven or a stove would. You leave digital clocks plugged in, correct? How about lamps? Do you leave lights on when you’ll be coming back home and it will be dark? How about your refrigerator? Your AC and heating unit when you won’t be home? It runs while you are out.
All of those things are “electrical”. And like the Crock pot, all of those things have been tested and tested again to ensure they are safe to run while you aren’t near them or home.

Also, as for what this has to do with ‘motherhood’ and ‘children’. I am a mother. I cook for my family. This is a cooking tool. To me, that is a part of my ‘world’ as a mom. Cooking products are just as big in my life as strollers, slings and high chairs!

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