Friday, May 9, 2014

Cast Iron Cookware Is My Old/New Favorite

Today when I made breakfast, I realized that I hadn't blogged about my love for my cookware.  Love is a strong word, but I really really like my cookware.  I have been married almost 46 years, and I have had every type of cookware.  I started out with cast iron frying pans.  When I was in my 20's,  I thought that was so old fashioned.  After saving for a while, we purchased some copper bottomed RevereWare.  I thought I was so smart and with it.  I hung them in the kitchen on a very pretty pot hanger.  I ended up hating them.  First of all the copper was tarnished most of the time and needed constant shining.  Food stuck on the pans and I had to scrub a lot.  I ended up selling them at a garage sale.

Next I bought those glass saucepans that were so popular.  They were even worse.  The temperature was so hard to control that I burned a lot of food or boiled things all over my stovetop.

 My next set was a variety of teflon.  It was good for a couple months and then the finish started to scrape off.  We have now learned that eating teflon is dangerous, but we didn't think about it at the time.  I went through new improved versions like T-Fal  throughout the years.  Even now I have a set of Cuisinart nonstick pans which are wonderful for their nonstick and cleaning properties, but the finish on some of the pans are getting pretty stratched.   So that brings me full circle.  I am now back to cast iron.  I only had one pan left from over 40 years ago, so I had to go out and buy them.  The pans you purchase these days come pre-seasoned.  If treated properly, nothing sticks and cooking in these pans adds iron to your diet.  I love them.

I bought this set from

They even sell silicone covers for the handles so the handles don't feel hot.  That is really helpful because the pans do get very hot.  To clean all you use is water.  Never use soap because it breaks down the surface oil.   If something does stick, just let some water sit in it for a while and take a scrubber to loosen the food.  When it's clean, I put it back on the stove and turn the heat on until the water evaporates.  It's now ready for next time you cook.  I use two scrubbies.  I made one multi color so I know that is the one I use on the cast iron, and it won't have any soap residue in it.

Hand made scrubbies made from nylon netting.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fix For A Scratched Wood Finish

Today I spent the day with my grandson.  He had been sick during the night, so he had to stay home from school.  As the day wore on, he felt a lot better.  We actually had a wonderful day.  We watched HGTV and he played on his ipad.  I knit and made him dumplings for lunch.  My three oldest  grandkids want my dumplings whenever they are sick.  It must be comfort food.  During the day my daughter called to check on us.  She told me she had pinned several things on Pinterest the night before.  One of those things was how to repair scratches on wooden furniture.  She told me that all you do is mix 3/4 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup of vinegar, and that she was going to try it on her dining room table.  As long as I was there and she had the oil and vinegar, I gave it a try.

Two spots on the table where the finish was scraped off.

After I applied the oil and vinegar.

More marks on the table.

After the treatment.

My conclusion is that it really does cover the scratches.  The only thing that showed after I wiped the oil off was the marks didn't have a sheen to match the shine on the table.  It would need some wax or something to make it shine.  These marks were quite big but small scratches on furniture or woodwork would blend in nicely.  It is a very inexpensive fix, and it is worth a try.

The original blog shows another example of how this works.

Then another project that appeared on Pinterest.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Taco Soup

Many years ago we went on the Formula Zone 40-30-30 eating plan.  It works but I quit because living such a rigid diet lifestyle is very difficult.  I did learn that living a healthier life style has many benefits and just cooking good meals at home is the most important part.  Some of the recipes from the diet book are very good and healthy, and we still make them.

My Tuesday recipe is from the 40-30-30 cookbook.  It's quick and easy.

40-30-30 Taco Soup

1 1/2 pounds extra-lean ground beef
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 clove minced garlic
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes with juice
15 oz. can of tomato sauce
15 oz. can of black beans, with juice
1 cup fresh, canned or frozen corn
1 pkg. of taco seasoning mix 

In a large soup pot, heat the oil.  Add the ground beef and brown.  Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.  Add canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, corn and taco seasoning.  Bring to a simmer for 30 minutes.

Sour Cream (low-fat)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Crumbled taco shells
Diced Jalapeno pepper (optional)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Return Visit To The Worm Farm

I am going to preface this blog with a warning.  It is somewhat gross if you don't like worms.  I blogged about this subject before and was told by some that they wouldn't read it.  That's ok but some of you will find it interesting and may want to try it yourself some day.

My previous post was an introduction to my worm farm.  If you haven't read it or couldn't read it, here it is.  Just click on this link.  Worm Farming, An Unusual Type of Farmer

In the blog I told that I take the worms and the casting dirt out of the trays in the spring, and then I start the process all over again.  Today was that day.  I left one working tray in place because the worms were still working on the latest carrot peelings and removed the other three.  There were a lot of worms left in these three trays so there must have been some bits left to eat, but it was mostly lovely dirt.   At least I thought it was lovely dirt.

Tray of worm castings that used to be kitchen waste and paper.

It was nice and sunny outside.  I spread out an old tablecloth on the sidewalk and dumped out the first tray.  The worms don't like the bright sun and immediately embed themselves under the dirt.  By doing this, it made it a little easier for me to retrieve them.  If anyone has a better way, please let me know because it still wasn't easy.  Then I noticed it.  Oops, someone had shredded a plastic credit card.  That someone was probably me.  There amongst the dirt were pieces of plastic.  I mentioned before to be careful not to shred the envelopes with the clear plastic windows, but credit cards are a definite no no.  I started to pick out the plastic and pick out the worms.  It is a good lesson. It may take millions of years to decompose every piece of plastic that goes into a landfill because even worms won't eat it.  People shouldn't ingest it either but that's another topic.

Bits of plastic in the dirt.

This looks like more than one card.  I think it's the AARP cards we received.

This tray took a while to sift through, but the other two trays went faster.  I ended up with thousands of worms.  I'm not sure what others do with the excess worms, but I would love some ideas for this too.   I kept out a pound container of worms and put the rest of the dirt and excess worms in my outside compost pile.  I also spread some of the dirt around a few plants that were just starting to come up.  Now here is the gross part.  Don't look any further if you ever want to eat spaghetti again.  It's time to return the lucky ones to the farm, or maybe the lucky ones were set free today.

I started a new tray with a lot of shredded paper.  Then I put the worms back to live another day.