Cotton-lined Dishwashing Gloves

I posted about these originally in 2014. See post here. Try are back in stock and I just ordered more. Here is a non-affiliate link. I’m looking forward to using less lotion this winter for my chapped hands thanks to these. Happy dishwashing.

A Week of Waffles

A Week of Waffles

We eat waffles for breakfast every morning. Why you ask? Because when members of your family are allergic to oats, eggs, and pork you’re pretty limited on your breakfast food. This is something that I can make that everyone can eat. So, I make a HUGE batch every Saturday to last us the week. If you want a week’s worth of waffles, try this recipe.

Waffles:

4 eggs (I use 8 egg yolks as we can’t use the whites)

1 cup mild tasting oil (I use light olive oil)

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 tsp. Salt

Stir.

4 cups buttermilk (I sour milk with vinegar)

Add to egg mixture and stir.

5 – 5 1/2 cups flour (I usually use 2 cups all purpose, 2 cup whole grain spelt or whole wheat, and 1 cup millet)

1 tbls. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Baking soda

Stir. If you used whole grain flour, let it sit a few minutes so that the flour can absorb all the liquid. If your batter is still too runny add a half cup of all purpose flour.

Cook in my favorite Cast Iron Waffle makers. 🙂

Store in the fridge for up to one week, or freeze.

Enjoy your pre-made breakfast.

Click this link for some tips on using these cast iron waffle makers to their full advantage.

Reviving my Kombucha


So I decided to revive my kombucha. I hadn’t made any since before our last move. Somehow between packing and morning sickness at the time, I couldn’t keep up. So, I put it in a jar with some of the kombucha liquid, stuck it in the fridge and it has sat there ever since. Two years later I’m finally ready to try again.

Tea and sugar water cooling.

I took my jar out and let it sit on the counter overnight so that it could warm up to room temperature. The next day I made up my sugar and tea mixture. For more specific directions on how to brew kombucha see my other posts – (Cranberry Ginger Kombucha).

I brewed three batches before I started drinking it again to be sure that it would revive. I’m pouring up a new batch today.

Ferments amaze me. The fact that all those little bacteria do what they do fascinates me. I think I need to start another ferment. Maybe I’ll go back to one of my favorites – Garlic, Onion, Jalepeno Relish. Or maybe I’ll try beets. Fermented beets are delicious. Until I get around to that, I think I’ll go enjoy my kombucha.

Double time it on the Waffles please

Waffles for my hungry kid this morning are brought to you by my favorite cast iron waffle maker.


See my post on Cast Iron Waffles for the many reasons why I love them. But what I’m loving most lately is that I have two of them. My mom gave me another one for my birthday. Two waffle irons for this family of six makes up a weeks worth of waffles in no time which is good for me. The other good thing is that because these are much less bulky than their electric counterparts, they both slide right in beside my pans and take up hardly any cabinet space at all. Who wants waffles now?

Quick and Easy Apple Cobbler

 

apple  cobbler cast ironI’m making this tonight for our family visiting for the weekend.

 

Sugar-Free Apple Cobbler: 

This recipe is free of sugar, eggs, wheat, corn and nuts.

Ingredient List: apples, butter, white spelt flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, heavy cream, baking powder.

First, grease a casserole dish, cake pan or pie plate with butter.

Peel, slice and chop 4 large apples. Choose a sweet, red variety like Fuji or Braeburn. No Granny Smith’s here please.

Sprinkle 2 tsp. cinnamon, a dash of cloves and 1/2 tsp. of salt over the apples and stir to coat.

Next, melt half a stick of butter in a large (cast-iron if you have it) skillet. Toss in the apple and begin to saute them over medium heat in the butter.

Sprinkle 2 tbls. of white spelt flour over the apples and stir until all the flour is combined with the butter and apple juices. This will make a roux which will thicken your cobber base.

After a few minutes of cooking pour 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream over the apples stirring and simmering until thickened. Remove from heat. The sweetness of the cream combined with the apple juices adds just enough sweet to make this naturally sweet and delicious without needing sugar. (Note: if you wanted it a little sweeter you could substitute 1/2 of apple juice for 1/2 cup of the cream.)

Now, for the topping. This is basically like making homemade biscuits.

In a large mixing bowl add 3 cups white spelt flour (you could use any flour of your choice here, but I think baked goods come out particularly well with this spelt flour), 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt. Stir to combine and then cut in 1/2 stick of butter using a pastry blender. Pour in 1 cup of heavy cream and stir quickly until it all just starts to come together adding a dash more cream if the mixture is too dry. Try to avoid overmixing. The cream here too adds a touch of sweetness so that you don’t need to add sugar to the pastry.

140128_0000Spoon your apple mixture into your greased casserole dish. Now, using a large spoon or cookie scoop add dollops of the dough. Don’t worry about filling in every space with dough as it will rise as it cooks and all the nooks and crannies will get filled in.

Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until your biscuit topping is golden. Serve with whipped cream if desired. It’s delicious! Enjoy!

Note: If you are diabetic and trying to avoid sugar, the fat (cream and butter) in this recipe will help you metabolize the carbs from the apples and dough.

All Done.

140128_0003

Making Wild Sourdough Starter

My sourdough pot

My sourdough pot

Sourdough pancakes anyone? Try your hand at making your own wild starter. Sourdough was once a staple in every American kitchen. Visit the Pantry to learn how to make your own.

Missouri Maple Syrup – how to make your own at home

IMG_0753

I used a little maple syrup that I’ve saved for years to store my Missouri Maple Syrup.

My great-grandmother Maggie lived on a farm in Missouri. I don’t know whether or not she had maple syrup. However, I know that she was frugal and creative in a pinch. Tonight was one of those nights for me. I had decided to make breakfast for dinner – eggs, sausage and waffles. Yum! One problem. I realized that we were out of maple syrup.

What to do? Do I turn the three burners off that were currently in the middle of cooking everything ,dress the kids and walk to the store for more? Then the moment of inspiration hit! I’ll make my own. I remembered my mom doing this in a pinch when we were little.

So, here’s how to make your own maple syrup substitute. The taste and texture is actually very similar to the real thing. Everyone in my family loved it and wouldn’t have even realized that it wasn’t maple syrup if I hadn’t told them.

Over dinner (breakfast actually) we decided that such an invention should should be named after Maggie and my husband called it “Missouri Maple Syrup” in honor of her. I think the name has stuck. Here’s how you make your own maple syrup – or something pretty close.

Missouri Maple Syrup: Mix equal parts dark brown sugar and water in a saucepan. I made a small batch using about 1/4 cup brown sugar (learn how to make your own brown sugar here) and 1/4 water. Heat to a simmer. While it’s heating, mix 1 tbl. corn starch and 2 tbl. cold water. When the brown sugar mixture is simmering, gradually pour in the cornstarch mixture and stir until slightly thickened to the consistency of real maple syrup. If you find the syrup too thick add a touch more water. If you can’t use cornstarch, then mix 1 tbl. of flour with a mild tasting oil. Blend well to make a thick paste and add to the mixture on the stove, stirring until thickened.

Everyone loved this so much I may start making big batches of it and storing it in the fridge. When money is tight it’s certainly cheaper than buying real maple syrup. That’s a luxury – an expensive one!

Yum! Waffles - made with my favorite cast iron waffle maker.

Yum! Waffles – made with my favorite cast iron waffle maker.

 

Missouri Maple Syrup on these waffles.

Missouri Maple Syrup on these waffles.

 

 

 

 

Kitchen DIY: Lard

IMG_0438I got 10 pounds of pork fat from the farm we buy meat from last month with the intent of rendering my own lard. When I ordered I had an idea of what I would need to do, but knew I would need to look up the directions again before I proceeded. It was surprisingly easy. It took me three days to do all 10 lbs. as my crock pot is small, but I now have 1 gallon of lard (pictured) on my counter. I’d say it was well worth the $7 I paid for the fat. All I did was cube the fat, toss it in the crock pot with about a cup of water. Cover. Turn on low. Cook either overnight or all day stirring occasionally if possible. Strain out the leftover fat pieces with a cheesecloth and collander, pour in a heat safe container (mason jar, casserole dish, crock, etc.), cool and chill in the fridge. All done and not much to it.

The rendered lard should keep in the fridge for quite some time. I find that fat stores better in the fridge if it’s not tightly covered. I’d suggest covering with a tea towel and rubberband. If covered tightly with a lid moisture can accumulates in the jar and it can get moldy. If this happens, scrape off the mold from the top and use what is underneath. You can also store lard at room temperature. But, I would suggest that if you make a big batch like I did, to store one jar at a time on the counter top and to store the remainder in a cool place.

Pork fat in crock pot - ready to cook.

Pork fat in crock pot – ready to cook.

 

 

Make your own oil sprayer – DIY Kitchen

IMG_0210Replace those aresol oil sprayers with your own homemade version. All you need is a spray bottle (glass or stainless steel is best) and your favorite oil. I use olive oil. You need an oil that is liquid at room temperature. If you want to use coconut oil I would try heating it and mixing in half and half with another oil that is liquid. Fill your spray bottle 3/4 full with oil and 1/4 with distilled water. Shake well before each use and spray liberally. I rarely need spray oil but use it when my cast iron waffle makerIMG_0213

Homemade Brown Sugar

Sugary goodness

Sugary goodness

Do you all know how to make brown sugar? I didn’t know how simple it was until I caught a snippet of a Martha Stewart episode a few years ago. I’ve been making it ever since. It’s nice to be able to make up a new batch when you are a 1/2 cup short on a recipe. All you need is two ingredients – some white sugar and molasses. Take a couple of cups of white sugar and drizzle in a couple of tablespoons of blackstrap molasses (affiliate link – Disclosures here). Stir until well mixed. It’s actually easier if you use your fingers to combine the molasses and granulated sugar. You will end up with the softest, moistest brown sugar. For darker brown sugar simply add more molasses. For lighter add less. For best results store in an airtight container so it doesn’t dry out. It’s wonderful! And if you use real blackstrap molasses (the best contains at least 20% iron) you’ll be adding some great iron and minerals to your diet. Enjoy!

 

Just two ingredients. Can't get much simpler than that.

Just two ingredients. Can’t get much simpler than that.

 

Stirring the molasses in.

Stirring the molasses in.

Product Update: Cotton-lined dish washing gloves

So, see my post below to read about the virtues of these wonderful dish washing gloves. Just wanted to let you know that 3 months later I’m still using the same pair of gloves! I’m shocked and amazed at the quality of these gloves. I’ve never had a pair of rubber gloves last so long and I’ve never liked a pair as well as I like these. Usually after a month at the most mine have holes and I’m throwing them out. And these get heavy use. On most days I use them 2-3 times a day. They are wonderful and you should all order some. Use my Amazon link and I’ll get a few pennies for your purchase. Wash away…..

Original Post:

41ZtqK26hQL._SY300_I usually don’t post about products but have any of you used these? Casabella Premium Water Stop  Latex Gloves (affiliate link – see my Disclosures page). I just discovered them and they are working wonders for the eczema on my hands that flares up periodically with the use of irritants like dish soap and hot water. But, what’s a city girl to do? The dishes have to be done. NYC apartment = no dishwasher. I can’t make the kids do the dishes yet. And the regular latex gloves from the store irritate my hands just as bad as dish soap with all those powdery linings. Well, guess what? These are wonderful! They have a “cotton flocking” which means that tiny cotton fibers have been adhered to the interior of the glove. Now, I will warn you that when I first got these and opened them up my first thought was, “These aren’t lined with cotton.” You see, I was expecting a cotton fabric lining and that is not what it is. It feels like a soft, less rubbery glove on the inside. I wasn’t sure that it was what I wanted but decided to try them out. I have been using them for around 3 weeks now and let me tell you the are well worth the $7 price tag. The lining (though not what I expected) doesn’t irritate my hands, they fit well and don’t slip and they have yet to crack or get a hole which is something that I can’t say for the gloves I used to buy at the grocery store. I’m sure they will wear out eventually but right now I am very happy and will definitely order more. They have definitely made dish washing a much happier chore at my house.

 Note: These are latex, so if you have a latex allergy I would avoid them since I don’t know that the cotton flocked lining would protect your skin sufficiently. 

Cast Iron Waffles

3.12.14 027Not actually cast iron waffles, but my new favorite waffle maker (affiliate link). I had a regular electric belgian waffle maker that I used until we moved this fall. The handle had broken off, the rubber feet had all melted and the non-stick stuff was all scratched up on the inside. So I decided that it had served 7 good years and threw it out. This one was patiently sitting in the cabinet just waiting to be pulled out. I had received it as a birthday present and hadn’t really figured out how to use. Well, the time had come.

3.12.14 031At first I didn’t like it, but as my friend said the other day – “It’s cast iron. You just have to get to know it.” And she’s absolutely right. Now, that I know this lovely little cast iron waffle maker I think it’s so much better than my other one was. It’s seasoning up better and better with each use. It makes perfectly round beautiful waffles that come right out. You should all click the affiliate links above and buy one. I’ll earn .02 cents or something from Amazon which I’ll probably put toward some more cast iron. Are there more cast iron pieces that I don’t have yet? Surely there are. I’d better find some. Here’s the list of what I’ve got. Let me know if there’s some thing that I don’t have so that I can add it to my wish list. 🙂 (Read Disclosures/Disclaimers here.)

If you decide to try this little gem of a waffle maker here are some tips to help your waffles come out nicely.

How to get great waffles with a cast iron waffle maker:
1. Heat the waffle iron till hot on both sides before using.
2. Just before pouring the first batch of batter in (turn the burner off if gas) and spray on the top and bottom plates with a bit of cooking oil. Note: this is only needed for the first waffle of the batch. You do not need to spray oil before cooking the next waffle.
3. Cook for a couple of minutes on one side (time will vary depending on your burner heat and batter thickness – you’ll get a feel for it), then using a hot pad flip the waffle iron over to cook on the other side. The second side is usually done a little faster than the first side.
4. Remove by lifting up one plate of the waffle iron and gently pulling the waffle out with a fork along the edges if it doesn’t fall out on it’s own.
5. Don’t wash when you are done. Simply let it cool completely, brush off any stray crumbs and store in your cabinet until next time. If you scrub with soap or water you will loose your seasoning. If some waffles get stuck on at any point, scrub off with a dry brush and spray with cooking oil as directed above before pouring more batter in.

Ahhh. They are so good! But one of the best parts is that I’ll never have to buy another waffle iron again. 🙂 With proper care this one will last forever.