Thursday, March 29, 2018

Cast Iron Fridays Books & Recipes Lots of Photos

              I have started up a cast iron sharing event. 
You are most welcome to join in with a post (new or old) just link up back to here to help spread the word. 

    If you no longer use cast iron but still have a favorite recipe or method please feel welcome to share. This is a learning and sharing event for all of us interested.
    Any of you that have used your cast iron at events or camping are most welcome too.
   This is for anything cooked, grilled, baked indoors or outdoors in cast iron. This also includes cast iron dutch ovens with the legs and special lids to hold the hot coals.  This event also includes cast iron pieces enameled 

     Happy Cast Iron Fridays everyone and Welcome.

  I want to share a couple of books I have picked up. Just a note: one does not need special cookbooks for cast iron cookware and bakeware but they usually also include tips about caring for your pieces too and recipes give you great ideas for using your pieces. 

    I love cookbooks, have way too many for sure but I love reading them.

  If you are familiar with Mary Jane Farm's magazine and her forum online you know she also writes excellent books. In her magazines she always shares recipes for cast iron too.  Mary Jane's Cast Iron Kitchen is a beautiful book and loaded with recipes and photos. She always includes gluten free options too for many of the recipes. The link goes to her site where you can request her autograph, for me personally her shipping charges are too costly so I look online elsewhere for her books.

From hmBooks I would like to share Skillet Desserts. I bought a copy for myself and a friend for Christmas last year. This is by the same publisher as the magazine Southern Cast Iron that I shared last week. Their books are gorgeous and the recipes are great. This is a really good one and am happy I bought a copy for myself. Note: if you go to their website some of the recipes are online as well. Also, one can find a better price elsewhere online unless you catch one of their good sales.

If you are on Pinterest Southern Cast Iron is on there with lots of recipes by catagory  I am on Pinterest too and I have a board for cast iron, wood fire, woodstoves etc 

This recipe Roasted Chicken with Spring Vegetables was in my newsletter this week-looked so good so had to share with all of you.

    I want to share the recipe for Chocolate Chip Bars that I made in my square cast iron pan over the weekend.

  I searched online for a recipe, some said that the original cookie recipe would not work as well-I think it would work though as I have made bars before with the original Toll House recipe.  I ended up using one by America's Test Kitchens as I have had good results with their recipes. The instructions for this recipe was unique to me and the results were delicious. Here is the recipe
   What was different for me was browning the butter first, whisking in the sugars, then the eggs. This was whisked for 30 seconds. Rest 3 minutes and repeat for a total of four times.  My changes to the recipe was coconut sugar instead of brown sugar and splenda instead of white sugar (to keep the sugars down for my Hubs)  Normally when I bake I use coconut oil instead of butter but because of the technique I kept the butter.

  Don't walk away while browning the butter as all of a sudden it will just be browned-next step is burnt

When I made this recipe the first time somehow I forgot to add the eggs to this butter sugar mixture, I remembered when I added the flour and knew something was wrong-lol so I beat in the eggs and it still baked up good.  
     when I made a gluten free version with the eggs at this step the mix was thick as described in the recipe. See second photo below

 Big difference with the eggs

This is the batter without the eggs-I took the photo before I realized this dough was way too thick-I just grabbed my hand mixer and added in the eggs

Since it was still March I used these green mint chips with regular chips that I found in my stash 

Below photo is a baked gluten free version of recipe. I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free all purpose flour

This week I also wanted to share with you my all time favorite corn bread recipe. I love this one because it has only cornmeal no all purpose flour.

   I found this recipe back in 2004 at King Arthur's Flour site. I have looked for it again and they have either changed the name of it or just took it off their site, which is a shame. My personal opinion this is just the best recipe for cornbread-it stays moist, not sweet, bakes up perfect every time and gluten free. A perfect recipe for cast iron

          Not-Northern Cornbread by King Arthur Flour 2004

(I believe the name comes from not having the white flour in the recipe)

Note: I always double this recipe to fit into my 9" square cast iron pan. When I first made this recipe which calls for an 8" pan my cornbread was very thin-did not like that, when I double the recipe it raises high in the pan.

4 teaspoons bacon drippings or butter or oil of choice-I use olive oil

1 cup yellow cornmeal divided
1 teaspoons sugar-I use splenda
1/2 teaspoon salt-I omit
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup boiling water
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg slightly beaten

Decide what fat you are going to use and put in an 8 inch cast iron skillet. Place the skillet in a preheated 450 degree F oven and let the fat melt and get hot while making the recipe

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup of the cornmeal, the sugar,salt, baking powder, baking soda. Set aside.

 In a small bowl combine the remaining 1/3 cup of cornmeal with the boiling water, stirring to blend. Add the buttermilk whisking till most of the lumps are gone. Stir in the beaten egg

Stir together the wet and dry mixing till just combined. Remove the hot skillet from the oven and pour any excess fat into the cornbread batter (I always forget to do this part) Spoon the batter into the skillet spreading evenly

   Return the skillet to the oven and bake the cornbread for 20 minutes, till it is starting to brown around the edges and the center springs back when lightly pressed with your fingertip. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the cornbread to a cooling rack. It will slide out of the pan easily enjoy warm yields about 8 servings.

  I always forget about pouring the hot fat into the batter, but it still turns out awesome the edges get nice and crispy leaving the fat in the pan

As you can see no sticking to the pan

Did you notice in my photo with the cornmeal a bag of popcorn meal?-I now combine these two half and half in the recipe-it does not give a popcorn taste but I think it adds to the moistness of the bread If you have an Amish grocery store nearby they usually sell it, can also find it online. Both yellow and white popcorn meal

Now it is your chance to share a cast iron post.

Thanks so much for visiting.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

March 29th National Vietnam War Veterans Day

Our Vietnam Veterans finally welcomed home-it's been a rough road for these Americans-I know first hand how they were not welcomed home so many years ago---this makes me happy for them.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Starlings Have Arrived

  Do you get the large flocks of starlings? They are a blackbird with a lovely song and they arrive here in huge flocks early spring for just a few days. I don't know where their destination is but I do enjoy seeing them.
   Any sense of movement or sound and the whole flock takes off. When they come back it's like they fall out of the trees. kinda fun. 
I just took these photos.

T Stands for Tuesdays & This and That

Happy T for Tuesday everyone. This is where we share a drink related post with friends.(just take a photo of your water, coffee or whatever you are drinking)  Find the link to our hostess Bleubeard and Elizabeth in my right hand column.

  This past week was not a fun one for me. 
I had really gotten the muse for my fabric journal but I am back to waiting for something again before I can proceed. So I have been reading in my spare time and spinning the bison fibers into yarn.

  We all go through this but I was sooo frustrated. I went to my dentist that I have seen since we moved here back in 2004. He was close and I liked him. I had gone in to check on a bad tooth-and he charged me over $100.00 for 4-5 x rays that were no good. His assistant never got the root which was needed. and he comes in and tells me that he doesn't do any of the work any more. He never should have accepted those x rays. He never explained what was going on.  So right away they send me to an office and she is sending me off to Springfield, Mo. I say hold on one minute don't make any appointments cause I am not happy right now. So any ways I call a friend and she refers me to two different dentists in the opposite direction going towards the lake. The one I called got me right in, loved the dentist as he explained things well. This was a more organized office too. 
      Had to take another x ray since the others were no good-they laughed when I brought those others with. and for the same thing x ray and diagnosis he charged me $18.00 Huge Huge difference. and I feel bad that I have been way over charged all these past years. well such is life.
   So long story short I have a major infection in the very back 2  teeth and one needs to come out-nothing left to repair and the other tooth that is bad takes a special dentist to repair. So back to Springfield-where I do not want to drive to. It's about a 90 minute drive on expressway to a big city-so I am just not comfortable with that.
   In the meantime I am still on antibiotics. They did pull the one tooth too. I need to call and see how expensive this will be-sounds like close to $2000.00 and I already put money in that tooth a few years ago-so ugh double ugh I may just pull it although that will leave me with no molers on one side. so for sure feeling very senior right now.
   A couple days later we needed to drive to Springfield to see a new cardiac doctor. My husband's condition is worsening. The scary part was we almost got smashed by a semi truck driver and all the cars following close behind us. good thing my husband is an excellent driver. I was shaking for an hour afterwards. 
   I did call the truck company with the truck number and the license plate number but I got the feeling he never wrote it down.
   So all I can say that was a rough week-but I know allot of this just comes with age so we will deal with it. Our bodies do wear out. I am unhappy because we eat very healthy and I prepare all foods from scratch, do not eat out etc etc. but genetics always rules it seems. The genetics from my father's side is just now showing up on me too. 

    Anyways I guess I just had to get all that written down to close last week. thanks for "listening"

   l was inspired by Linda's cast iron baked chocolate chip bars so I searched online and decided on a recipe from America's Test Kitchen. Hubs was going to a party for Mr L so I made a batch for him to take. Everyone went nuts over them.  I decided this morning to make up a  batch with gluten free flour-turned out perfect. I will share the recipe and more photos on cast iron Fridays

    This is a great way to bake up some chocolate chip bars-and I love this recipe it is a bit different too on how you make it.

  The geese pair still show up here but I haven't seen them eat the corn and seed I put out any more. Hubs saw them on the little island in one of our ponds one day. of course the muscovy pair are still here too. They arrive early, use the ponds, sit around, eat, and then fly off haha.  I grabbed the camera for a little walk and I did not see the geese but this is the spot Note it is possible that the hen is tucked into her nest on the left side in that opening but I didn't want to disturb her by getting any closer if she was there. This is the same spot she nested in a few years ago.

Even though we are back to being really cold and windy again-no snow though-I planted up a few more water bottle greenhouses. These are three different variaties of milkweed, Japanese indigo for dye, and one with a pretty marigold.  I have also planted broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and green cotton seeds. It has been too cold again for anything to sprout and no sun here most days. We are to get lots and lots of rain Monday and Tuesday so I put the jugs in a sheltered spot. Last year I lost most of my seeds and plants with too much rain.
  Saturday I also cleared out the weeds etc from the other raised bed but I need more soil to put in before planting. and I also got all the wisteria runners wound back into the trellis-that was a job as I hadn't got to it last year.

 I opened up a new bottle of wine (found at Aldi), the bottle was so pretty that I grabbed a crystal wine glass. I really like this one-dry but not too dry.

Hope all of you getting that snow are not getting any more. I think we are all so anxious for spring to get here. 

Happy T Day
Thanks so much for stopping by

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cast iron Fridays With Lots of Photos

Welcome everyone,

(I am posting a little early as we will be gone most of today)

              I have started up a cast iron sharing event. 
You are most welcome to join in with a post (new or old) just link up back to here to help spread the word. 

    If you no longer use cast iron but still have a favorite recipe or method please feel welcome to share. This is a learning and sharing event for all of us interested.
    Any of you that have used your cast iron at events or camping are most welcome too.
   This is for anything cooked, grilled, baked indoors or outdoors in cast iron. This also includes cast iron dutch ovens with the legs and special lids to hold the hot coals.

     I thought I would share a couple sources about cast iron.  Last year at a big box store-Sam's Club-I discovered the magazine Southern Cast Iron. I love this magazine. It is a bit pricey but I found a really good price around cyber week after Thanksgiving for a subscription. During this time they also have allot of their books and other magazines at big discounts too. Many of the recipes are on their site  as well. This magazine is sooo good in my opinion that it is like a mini cookbook-just filled with recipes and other good information.

   One does not need special recipes for our cast iron, as one can adapt many of their favorites to cast iron. However, Once you start using your pieces you will see how special they are especially for baked goods. Breads and pizza are awesome.

  I was looking around for blogs about cast iron and so far nothing really appealed to me but I did see that Lodge has a blog called The Chopping Block which I just signed up for. Lodge is an excellent source for products-made here in the USA still, recipes, how to's and more.

So what did I make this past week in my cast iron?

   First off we hadn't had biscuits and gravy for awhile so I made us enough for a couple breakfast/dinners. (we are eating at 2 in the afternoon now so I made a big breakfast for dinner)

    This post will have lots of photos so I kept them a bit smaller just click on them for better viewing-they will enlarge full size. (don't look too close at my stove - that needs a really good cleaning soon)

I am not always real good at making fried potatoes but these turned out awesome. I cooked them first-drained-and for the oil I used grapeseed oil. No sticking (smiles)

I also baked an Irish Soda Bread in my dutch oven this past week. Here is the recipe I had not tried this before and it turned out perfect. This a no yeast dough-just do NOT over mix and your bread will be perfect.  The recipe said a 10" dutch oven mine was 9 1/2"wide and baked up perfectly.

I highly recommend this bread-so easy and turns out perfect. It's a show stopper.

Wednesday I had apples that needed to be used. So I made up a deep dish apple raisin pie for hubs and for whom ever drops by.  
          For me I made a gluten free apple crisp.
   For the recipe I usually just "wing it" but I decided to read through a couple of recipes. I liked this one the best. simple and not allot of fat or sugar added compared to most others and I changed it to gluten free. 
   what I changed-for the oats I used half gluten free rolled oats and 1./2 slivered almonds. instead of brown sugar I used coconut sugar. For the apples I also used coconut sugar and about a tablespoon of agave, and I sprinkled in a little instant tapioca-it makes the apples nice and thick-like a pie.and instead of cinnamon I use apple pie spice-which has more spices in it.

After using my cast iron skillets I washed out the skillets and re seasoned. I love the spray olive oil-nothing else in it. I spray just a bit on the skillet, wipe around with a paper towel and heat for 5 minutes on my gas stove.

  I also roasted some green coffee beans for my Hubs in one of the cast iron skillets-I will share that next week and also a couple of books.

Now it is your turn if you would like to share a post using cast iron. 
Thanks so much for visiting.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Geese Pair and Duck Pair Getting Acquainted

  I was so happy to see Sir John and Izzy swimming in the pond up by the house. today.

                                  Getting Acquainted

I made Hubs and our friend Mr L an apple raisin pie today

I made me a gluten free apple crisp in cast iron-I will share the recipe on Friday

I am thankful it looks like spring here but it is still quite cold-warmer tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Remember Sir John and Izzy??

  My new readers won't know who Sir John and Izzy are but about 4 years ago we had a pair of Canada Geese stay here and nest. One  of our ponds has a mini island that we made in the middle-and that is where they nested.
   That first season they raised 3 babies. The following year they returned and nested but a predator stole their eggs. They were pretty lost and just hung out.
   The third year they returned but nested elsewhere.
Last year we didn't see them.
   Sir John and I had a "talk" that first year. (ha ha)  I let him know that I was the "corn lady" so stop going after me-and he stopped after that-and backed off while I tossed out the corn. I really enjoyed them that year. On my old blog I had a naming contest for them and these names were from the first President of Canada.
  This is the only pair of Canada Geese that knows about the corn, so I am sure it's them It was too dark to get a photo from inside the bay window so I grabbed some corn and the camera. I really think it is them.
    They arrived a bit after the Muscovey duck pair flew off for the night-so this will be interesting if the geese return
    Hubs won't be too happy to see them though as they carry weed seeds on their feet which plants itself and is then very difficult to get out of the ponds. but I love seeing them again

Sunday, March 18, 2018

T Stands for Tuesday

  Hi Everyone,
     Wow another T Stands for Tuesdays is upon us.

We share a drink related post with friends, You are most welcome to join us-please find our hostess Bleubeard and Elizabeth at the link in my right hand column.

  As the weather goes we were cooler last week and in the 20's at night. This week the rains will be coming in. I have been enjoying the blooming daffodils, lots of wildlife and many nights a dozen or so deer have dropped by at once. The duck pair is still here every day too. and a really big surprise but I could not get a photo quick enough-I look out the bay window and there is  ground hog-wow that was craziness but reminded me of Yellowstone's marmots haha

  Did you celebrate StPatricks's Day?  Hubs and I love boiled corn beef, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. I usually bake a bread to go with. Since meeting our friend Mr L here we learned his birthday is on this day so I invite him over for the feast. He turned 75 this year. This year I tried out a new recipe for an Irish Soda Bread baked in a dutch oven in the oven. It turned out great. I will post the recipe with photos on Friday for cast iron Friday's 
     I tried a gluten free version that I thought should work but sadly it did not it just would not bake inside even after slicing a piece and toasting it well so the wildlife got to eat it haha

   I have been reading the Twilight saga books all week and am on the last one now. 
   I also spun another skein of bison yarn.

   I also worked on a couple components for my art fabric journal.

I made the second moon for March.
 In March when there is a second moon it is called the Sap Moon-for maple syrup according to the Farmer's Almanac. I am hoping this looks like a maple syrup tap 

   I also remembered that I had some metal flower stencils that I used with fabric crayon type sticks. So I played around with that and some stamps to make a spring piece. 

I made a mistake with the date-wanted to put 3-20-18 so I may try to cut that out or just redo this not sure yet. Update-I do not like it at all haha so I have cut that out and it looks much nicer now.

  This weekend I just signed up for three classes at Fiber U  This is an event that comes to our nearby civic center every July. It is everything fiber with lots of vendors and classes. I am always amazed that most of the vendors and students drive a long way and from other states as well. I mailed it out the next day so Hoping I get the classes I want.
      I did not take any classes last year, but this year I found several I liked. I am a self taught natural dyer never took any classes. One of the classes being offered is dyeing with woods and their historic significance so that sounded fun. I also liked that the class limit is 12 people. I contacted the teacher and this is a hands on class, she told me she lets her students do all of the dyeing so I am excited for this one.
   I wish I was more advanced with my spinning as this year they have several more advanced classes that I would have loved to take-one of them spinning silk from the cocoon.  Most years they do not offer spinning and this year they have many classes which is nice to see.
   I found a class in the morning before the dye class for making rolags with a blending board. rolags are for spinning into yarn.  I have made some already but had some difficulty so thought this class would be fun too. So with these two classes on Saturday is filled. I do not need to shop at all-I have so much here already but I usually find something I have to have ha ha. but this day there is only one hour in between the two classes and then the event closes-so I am safe from shopping ha ha.
  On Sunday there is a new class as well-- learning to weave on one of those Scandinavian band looms. It is not really a loom per se but usually a piece of board with holes and slots for the the weft and warp. I am intrigued since this dates to the 1800's. This is a long class 8 am to 3 pm with a lunch break.
  So of course I am looking forward to this fiber event again.

The other day I decided to open up a bottle of Riesling-one of my old favorites.

These last two photos are a bit blurry as the deer were moving around

Happy T For Tuesday everyone. 
So glad you stopped by.