In my determination to get out of my boring food rut, while at the same time focusing on weeknight dinners that can be served up within 30 minutes, I’ve invested in a slow cooker. (Read more about my Healthier Mummy challenge here: Do you have mealtime déjà vu?) I’ve never had one of these kitchen workhorses before and I’m now evangelical about their benefits. I can’t believe it’s taken me three children to discover their joys. I love the way a slow cooker takes advantage of your body’s natural rhythms. It feels much more constructive to be preparing ingredients when you’ve got more energy (early in the morning) or are not starving (just before you go to bed), than when you’re frazzled and demented with hunger after the kids’ bedtime. You might think that a slow cooker meal – which could take 10 hours to cook – defeats the point of my 30-minute challenge. But I think it still counts. This is because it never takes longer than 30 minutes to chop the veg and prepare the ingredients, and often less. I just get up a bit earlier on a slow cooker day to do the preparation.