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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Iron Skillet Corn Bread

My Discovery of Cast-Iron Skillet Potential

 I was told that food sticks to cast-iron skillets...badly.

 Did a google search: "how to use cast-iron skillets?"

 Found that they need to be properly seasoned with oil.

 Did that; followed instructions.

 Started cooking with the cast-iron skillet...

...nothing stuck... 

Became a cast-iron skillet fanatic.

Will now be using it for EVERYTHING!! 


Including cornbread! I've seen pictures of it baked in cast-iron skillets and loved how rustic it looked! The dark background of the skillet really makes the rich, yellow cornbread pop! Cast-iron skillets make basically any dish so much more vivid and presentable.

 So I had to try it myself.

 Now I know how I'll be making cornbread from now on...

 ...and how often. =)


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ginger Sweet Potato Bean Soup & Ginger-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

 The first day of autumn this year brought with it the inspiration of cooking "fall" foods. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, is what comes to my mind. I didn't want to just make the boring old pumpkin pie, apple pie, and so on, even though they are really good. But I wanted to try something different. Something that actually wasn't a dessert.

  So what could be more appropriate than soup, on a breezy, autumn day. Ginger soup at that. I was trying to think of fall-like ingredients. There was a bag of yams laying around, so that was definitely a winner. I also had a lot of prepared white beans that I had soaked and rinsed, soaked and rinsed, soaked and rinsed, over the course of several days (I know that sounds excessive). So my end conclusion: Ginger Sweet Potato Bean Soup!

 Unfortunately, we didn't have any homemade bread on the day I made the soup, so I needed a side dish. We had some raw pumpkin seeds in the cupboard that I needed to roast at some point anyway. Thinking that the soup and seeds might as well "match," I sprinkled some ginger on them along with salt, pepper, and melted butter. The taste is fantastic, even with the unfortunate twinge of burnt taste (I don't know if it's because of the pan, the oven, or just my lack of skill, but I still manage to burn things fairly often).

 Anyway, by the time the soup was ready for dinner, I wasn't even hungry. The pumpkin seeds were just too good. =)

 Ginger Sweet Potato Bean Soup

olive oil

ground ginger

ground cloves

onions, chopped

garlic, minced

carrots, diced

chicken broth


white beans




Ginger-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

raw pumpkin seeds




butter, melted

Bake at 350 on a cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Making Creative Chalkboards

 Summer is almost over! I can't believe it's gone by so fast! And even more shocking is that I haven't posted anything all Summer! It has been a fairly busy Summer for me, but mostly I just haven't been doing a lot of post worthy things. So now I'm trying to pick up the slack and get back in the swing of blogging. :)

 To start it off I tried something I've always wanted to do. Paint with Chalkboard Paint! I had been wanting to give that a try in the worst way and I finally just broke down and did it(A Michael's gift card helped with that :) ). Now what I originally had planned for the Chalkboard Paint was something a bit bigger than this(which I'll share at a later time), but I need to prepare a few things for that project first, so today I'm showing you the smaller project.

 It was my mom's idea actually, so I can't take the credit for this. She had these old clipboards she was planning to get rid of when she happened to think that I could use them with my Chalkboard paint. What and excellent idea!

I sat outside to paint this cause the lighting for the pictures would be better. Plus it was a beautiful day. :)

The directions for the paint say that you need two coats. One you apply vertically and the other horizontally, with the space of an hour between each coat.

Second coat all done! After you've painted on both coats the paint needs to cure for 24 hours before use. Then...

 ...it's chalkboard time!

 Clipboard to chalkboard. Not a bad idea! :) Have fun coming up with your own creative ideas for chalkboards and share in the comments!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Salad in a Jar

 Going to fairs and flea markets can be fun, and is something my family does at least once or twice a year. Nonetheless, I almost always go away with my stomach telling me I really shouldn't have eaten all that greasy, fried food. I'm sure you've all been there before. The steak sandwich and funnel cake sound great (although honestly, these don't even appeal to me anymore), and since there's not a whole lot of options that don't involve deep-fried, nutrition-starving fare, you go ahead and indulge.

 But gee, just imagine what a little bit of planning and smart thinking can achieve(and how much happier your stomach could be on the way home=). Who says you can't pack a lunch to the fair (or anywhere)? For that matter, who says you can't pack a yummy, nutrition-loaded salad?

 No one! Yeah, you might look a little funny eating salad at the fair, but it's worth it.

 I'm sure you've seen the salad jar buzz on Pinterest by now. I obviously have, and am glad I did. I love the idea of being able to make up a fresh salad ahead of time, and taking it anywhere I go.

 It's also a great way to use leftovers in the fridge! Here are some ideas to get you started:

-leftover corn or peas
-beans (of any kind)
-cooked pasta
-chopped veggies(of course)
-chicken or any meat
-walnuts, cashews, pecans, peanuts(my personal favorite)
 -oranges, strawberries, grapes(gotta love fruit)!

 All that's needed to assemble the salad is to:

1) Pour salad dressing on the bottom.

2) Add tender veggies like tomatoes and onions.

3) Add crisper veggies like broccoli and carrots.

4)Add any type of protein (cheese, meat, legumes).

5) Add any kind of leafy greens(really pack them in...you can fit a lot)!

 One of the reasons I love making salads is because it's so easy to make it look amazingly irresistible. Using bright, vibrant, and fresh vegetables and fruit in a salad make it almost effortlessly beautiful!

 So next time you make a trip to the fair or flea market, think ahead, pack a lunch, and enjoy the simple, healthy taste of homemade.