December 21, 2009

I Love Cast Iron!

My grandmother taught me to cook scrambled eggs on a little wood stove when I was about 4 years old. I loved to use her littlest cast iron skillet and from that my love for cast-iron has grown. Each time I use it, I think of her and all the wonderful things she taught me. Over the years my mom used cast iron skillets for cooking, frying, and baking. I love the versatility of cast iron. Anything from Mexican cornbread to thickening gravy to sourdough bread to Southern fried apples can be made in a cast iron skillet!
I got a call last week that something I had been waiting for had arrived at a store in town. I stopped by Saturday and picked "her" up. I love her and just couldn't wait to get her seasoned and filled with chili or homemade vegetable soup or white beans.

She's a cast iron Dutch oven. She holds 9 quarts and I think she's beautiful!
When caring for cast iron (and I finally learned the right way or at least the one that works for me) you must season it. To season my pieces, I rub the entire piece with lard, inside and out, put it on a large cookie sheet to catch the dripping and place it in 275 degree oven for 2 hours. You may want to repeat this process a few times and use high fat food in your pan the first few times you use it. Once it has been seasoned properly, you will love cooking in it.

Never use a liquid soap/dish detergent on your cast iron. Those detergents were made to remove grease and they will remove the "seasoning" right off your pan and you will have to reseason all over again. Want to know how I know this? It took a couple of times before I realized what I was doing wrong!

Always wash you cast iron piece with hot water when it has cooled just enough to handle. This makes it easy to clean and always dry it well before storing it to prevent it from rusting. I once found an old cast iron piece at a yard sale for 10 cents. It looked awful, had rust in the bottom, looked like it had never been seasoned, etc. I bought it, brought it home and took care of it like a cast iron skillet deserves to be taken care of. I cleaned it, which was quite a chore. I ended up having to use steel wool to get the rust off then seasoned it, seasoned it, reseasoned it and seasoned it again and it has turned out to be one of my favorite and most-used pieces. So just because it looks bad doesn't mean it can't be brought back to life with a little TLC.
If you don't use cast iron, go out and buy a skillet, season it and USE it! You will love it and want to add to your collection. My mom has several of my grandmothers skillets that will eventually be passed down to me. That's another great thing about cast-iron, you can't wear the stuff out!

If you do use cast-iron, tell me how much you love it!

December 12, 2009

Our Christmas Card

Each year I take a pic of the boys and have them printed as 4 x 8 inch cards through Clark Color Labs. I also ordered 4 of their fleece blankets and am working on a calendar and some mugs as Christmas gifts. They have some awesome coupon deals going on right now and their processing and shipping is fast.

So from our house to yours...


December 10, 2009

The Winner Is.....

Tammy at A Stitch in Thyme!!

Congratulations! Please email me through the "contact me" link in the sidebar with your mailing address and I will get this in the mail. It's already boxed up and ready to go!

I am planning to do a tutorial on how I do these light blocks for as later blog post.

I have not forgot all of you. This is such a busy time of year with Christmas and my oldest son's birthday (the 19th) that my schedule is a bit packed, plus I'm working this year too!

If I make it through December, I plan to be back blogging more often! Thank you for being faithful followers and MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!!!!

December 2, 2009

Deck the Halls

or at least the living room, fireplace and loft railing. We decided to go with a live white pine this year so we can plant it outside after the holidays.
I have my snowmen on the top mantle and my nativity scene on top of the fireplace.
I love the way the railing turned out. I think I'll take the boys pic for our Christmas card on each side of the wreath this year.
Post a link to the pics of your decorations! I would love to see them!

December 1, 2009

After-Dinner Entertainment

Each year after Thanksgiving at mom and dad's we end up outside if the weather is nice and pitch horseshoes or toss washers. Four years ago we decided to play intense kickball for 3 and a half hours and we were all so sore the next couple days, we thought we were going to die! My brother (the one pictured below) called me the next morning and said, Help! I said, what's wrong? He said, I'm so sore I can't bend my legs to get in my truck and I gotta go to work! I had a good laugh, hung up the phone, rolled out of bed and thought I was die from the aches and pains! It was worse the next day! Someone always mentions that Thanksgiving and we all moan!

This year it was cold! Too cold to play outside so the boys entertained themselves with a good wrestling match. We only had one bumped nose and it miraculously healed itself when the uncles in the group started teasing about not being tough!

So here is what they did...
My boys and my nephew Adam (he's 9) wrestled...
and wrestled
and wrestled
and wrestled some more...
Then I wanted to take some pics and when my "little" 8-years-younger, 230-pound, 6 feet 4 inch brother gets involved I get pics like this...
and this
and finally after begging one good one of Adam and his Dad.
After all that we came home and the boys went to their rooms to play for awhile. It got quite and I went to check on Luke. He was just a little worn out from all that excitement.
He took a 2 hour nap.
I love my family. I love holidays with them. I love being silly after eating turkey. I love watching my 13-year-old niece playing with her blackberry over in the corner because she's too cool to wrestle with the boys anymore. I love seeing my mom and dad in their recliners side by side holding hands laughing at the grandkids. I love sitting beside my husband with his arm around me watching our kids and their silly antics. I love hanging out in the kitchen talking to mom, my sister and sister-in-law and I even love suffering through the bone crushing hugs from my 2 brothers.

I cherish it all and thank God for them every day.

Don't forget about my Christmas block give away. It's sitting on the little side table in my living room and I have decided to make another one just like it to keep because it's so cute!!


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All images and graphics on this page were made by me with the exception of that little rooster! He came from Beth Logan's Checkered Chickens at Photos were taken by me and graphics were created using Photoshop CS2.
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Thank you!