Hope Comerford purchased her first Crock Pot for $5 at a day-after-Thanksgiving sale.
That was years before she became a working mom looking to save time in the kitchen.
Comerford grew up in Rochester (as Hope Jacobs), where she attended , and .
Today she's an elementary music teacher for the L'Anse Creuse School District. She's also a wife (to Justin) and mom (to Ella and Gavin) — and a successful blogger who has gained a following for her expertise in all-things-slow-cooker.
"It was just a hobby, but then it became a challenge," said Comerford of her cooking experiences, which she turned into a blog, A Busy Mom's Slow-Cooker Adventures.
Starting today with a recipe for and continuing each week, Rochester Patch will share Comerford's recipes with our readers, in hopes that they, too, will dust off their slow cookers and find a new meal to put into the weekly rotation.
How she got started
Comerford said life was hectic three years ago when she and Justin (who is also a teacher) were each working full-time during the day and working on their master's degree classes at night and on weekends.
They also were trying to spend time with their baby, Ella. Cooking fell by the wayside.
"I was feeling like an absolute crazy person," she said.
One day, Comerford said she re-grouped and pulled out her Crock Pot from the back of her cupboard. She made a roast. It was delicious.
From there, she hasn't turned back. "I thought, 'this is the answer to our prayers,' " she said.
Comerford started cooking three or four meals a week in her slow cooker. Then, she started talking about her cooking adventures with her colleagues at work.
"They started asking me for recipes, and I got tired of writing them down. I thought about a way to easily share them with everyone," she said.
"I started the blog on a Saturday morning while my daughter was sleeping in. Honestly, I never thought anyone would read it except for the teachers at school."
Comerford updates her blog a few times a week, and she has hundreds of loyal followers.
She has three slow cookers: a seven-quart, a 6.5-quart programmable that she can set to a timer, and a 3-quart one.
Meals and more
Here are a few of Comerford's favorite slow cooker creations:
- White Bean Chicken Chili: "This is my go-to meal; it's easy and everybody likes it," she said.
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta: "My kids are the pickiest eaters and they'll eat it," she said.
- Ribs: Comerford said she has perfected her recipe. "They are so surprisingly easy," she said.
Look for Comerford to share these recipes and more in the future on Patch.
This story is part of a continuing look at Rochester-area alumni. For more reports, see our Rochester Alumni page. If you know of a Rochester grad who is doing something unique, send an email to editor Kristin Bull.