Restoring & Seasoning Rusty Cast Iron Pans


front

Want a pan that will stand the test of time? For over 100 years cast iron as been a traditional favorite in kitchens across America. These almost indestructible pans can easily withstand a lifetime of use and often survives longer than it’s owner. If you take good care of your cast iron cookware, it can be passed down and enjoyed by generations to come.

Got rust? Don’t toss out that pan, it can be fixed! Simply follow the instructions below for seasoning your cast iron cookware and it will once again look and perform like new.

Step 1:
Wash the cookware thoroughly with hot soapy water and an abrasive sponge. Rinse and dry it thoroughly.

oilcastiron

Step 2:
Coat the entire surface of the pan with a layer of vegetable shortening or oil. I use a paper towel so I can be sure I’m getting the oil into all cracks and edges. Coat the undersides and handles as well. Start with a small amount and add to it as needed, too much oil will make your pan smoke in the oven.

Step 3:
Next, place the cookware upside down on the upper rack of a 350ºF oven, over a lower rack lined with aluminum foil, for about one hour or according to label instructions (if new). Allow the cast iron cookware to cool inside the oven before removing it. The iron will absorb the oil and help to repair any rust or bald spots in your pan. And viola!

Warning: This process is likely to produce significant amounts of smoke so you may need to leave some windows open and/or disable your smoke detector.

Suggestions for Use

  • The best way to clean a cast iron skillet is to sprinkle some coarse salt over the surface and then gently scrub it with a paper towel to remove the food and grease.
  • Avoid using your cast iron cookware to prepare tomato-based foods or other acidic foods containing lemon juice or vinegar. They will deteriorate the non-stick surface, and as a result, the cookware might need additional seasoning.
  • Always preheat your cast iron cookware before adding food. Test for readiness by adding a couple of drops of water. If the water pops and sizzles, the pan is hot enough to begin using. If the water immediately evaporates, the pan is too hot, and the heat should be turned down to allow it to cool to the appropriate temperature.

    Happy Frying!

signature

Advertisements

For We Walk By Faith: Our Newest Arrival Is Here!


We’ve created the ultimate homegrown! Faith Olivia was born July 23, 2017 at 4:50pm. She weight 7 lbs 9 oz and was 20 1/4 inches long. She arrived 8 days over due and it is doing beautifully.

We are so blessed to have her in our lives. As the scripture goes 1 Samuel 1:27-28 “For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him.”

I came from a difficult past and an enduring childhood. Long before I was married or even met my husband; I knew I wanted a marriage, children and a family of my own. The years went by and at the time I had been dating my would be future husband for over 7 years but my dreams of family still seemed so far away. I realized that my own on goings weren’t coming up fruitful, so in desperation and frustration, I surrendered myself and my life to the Lord. That was the best decision I ever made.

From where I’ve been to where I wanted to go seems like an impossibly long journey. I had told myself, if I am to get there it’s going to take nothing but an incredible amount of pure Faith. I told the Lord then and there that if He saw fit to bring me a husband, join me in marriage and bless me with a child; that I would name my first baby girl Faith.

Less than a year after this prayer, I was engaged. Within a year that I had an incredible marriage ceremony on the beach in Lake Tahoe. It was absolutely heaven sent with a white horse and carriage, held on my father’s birthday (the only day the site was available) and it even snowed briefly after the “I dos” in May. By October, I found out we were pregnant!

The Lord brought everything to me that we wanted. He knitted together a web of events that even in our wildest dreams we could have never assembled together ourselves. He did it so quickly and so eloquently as only He could. He knew our hearts desires better than we knew our own.

After we found out we were pregnant, I was convinced I was carrying a boy. I had even begin to purchase boy clothes. Since boys were more prevalent in both mine and my husband’s family, I had resolved that this child was a boy. It would be 15 short weeks later at our gender reveal ultrasound that I squealed and cried to find out that I was having a little girl! I seriously didn’t expect it and almost skipped the appointment because I thought I knew better. We knew right away her name was Faith.

We decided on the middle name Olivia because it’s derived from Olive one of the crops we have growing here on the homestead. The Olive branch was the famous symbol of peace after the floods in the time of Noah. I Olivia is said to be the one that walks with peace. So here she is world, my little miracle: Faith Olivia.

Moral of this story: Put all your trust and have Faith in the Lord.

Betrayal Of A Neighbor & A City – Nazi Style



I’m totally heartbroken. Today our little farm lost it’s fearless leader. No, our beautiful, protective rooster didn’t die or runaway from his duties as head of flock. He was targeted and forced out by a complaint driven city ordinance that bans all roosters from our city’s limits.

This rooster was the second generation rooster of our original rooster, Big Red. Our rooster Junior was one of the first to be hatched here on the property and lived here for over 2 years guarding our flock against predators after the death of his father.

Despite having had roosters on our property for over 5 years, this recent action was invoked by a neighbor complaint. We don’t know which one complained or why out of no where us keeping a rooster was suddenly an issue. Honestly it doesn’t really matter. We are devastated by the loss of our wonderful buddy but we are also heartbroken that our neighbor couldn’t come forward and discuss this issue with us first so we could work towards a resolution.

Additionally, we are both deeply upset by the timing of all of this, considering we all spent last week celebrating our nation’s independence and the freedoms that came from it. We as a nation were celebrating ALL freedoms, not just the one we agree with. In a country where people fought and die to protect the sacred right of every individual to have the right to the pursuit of happiness; we are saddened that our neighbor(s) couldn’t see fit to allow us that.

The state of our community needs to be addressed. Adult tattle tailing has become the norm. Here in the Bay Area. It wasn’t enough that our neighbors tattled on us but that the city official that came to our home and demanded our rooster’s departure also demanded that my husband release the addresses of other households harboring roosters. What happens when it’s not roosters but people? Neighbors turned their own neighbors over to the Nazis too and that was all done under city ordinances. So just because ordinances are in places doesn’t mean that they are right or lawful.

We put up with a lot to live here. That’s just our personal stance. We’d rather put up with it than have someone else tell us what to do on my own property. When you or anyone tries to regulate others, ultimately they do nothing more than open themselves to unnecessary regulation. Our gut tells us that this event wasn’t about the rooster, but more about someone else’s ego and their petty need for control. It’s more likely that this was about some other unspoken “grievance” that perhaps wasn’t against a city ordinance.

We hope that the rooster rescue that took Junior in today is truly a rescue and not just some meat factory where he will be lead to slaughter or worse an underground cock fighting ring. We will never know. We do know that roosters are exceptionally hard to find homes for and if he does manage to find a new home it won’t come quick or easy. We wish him the best and hope his story has a happy ending.

We are also now left to fear for the safety and well being of our remaining flock for without him, who will protect them from coyotes, warn them danger or nudge them into bed when it’s time. Our initial flock of 10 was all but one wiped out completely by coyotes in one late night attack and we know it will only takes minutes for it to happen again.

For some he was just a rooster, for us he was a vital part of our family and an integrated piece of our mini farm. He will forever be missed.

Meal Prep: 14 Chicken Crock-Pot Freezer Meals


Our daughter is due in just 8 short days! The home improvements are done, the nursery is complete and the house has been fully deep cleaned. Now I’m switching gear to doing some massive food prep over the next few days.  In the end, I will to have 22 crock-pot ready freezer meals, 36 pre-made casseroles, 24 pre-made hamburger patties, 36 pre-made breakfast burritos, 24 pre-prepped fruit smoothies and 24 homemade granola bars!! I will be using 16 lbs of ground beef, 11lbs of beef, a whooping 18 lbs of chicken and over 10lbs of cheeses! My hope is by doing this, it will make our transition to first time parents easier and at least we will be well fed. Stay tuned for all the juicy details and outcomes!

Note: This post will cover the chicken based crock-pot freezer meals. I will also follow up this post with my full shopping list and estimated total cost.

Disclosure: These are not my recipes. I will try to find the original recipes and link to it for crediting purposes. I have previously made each recipes and can confirm that they are delicious! Feel free to modify to your taste.

Before I jump into the recipes here’s some quick tips and insights to help make this process much easier. Each recipe is designed to feed two adults with little to no leftovers and should be considered more of a main courses rather than full meals in a bag. However, each bag will be referred to as a meal for simplicity sake. I have added suggestions of what sides we serve each recipe with.

Each recipe below will create two bag meals. You can double each recipe to create a larger meal and/or double each recipe to create more than two – two person meal bags. Once frozen, meals will last for up to 6 months in a standard freezer. 

The Day Before Prep:
Step 1: Clean your kitchen and make sure you have a few sets of measuring cups and spoons available to use. You will also need a roll of paper towels, a cutting board, chopping knife and a few spatulas.

Step 2: Review your shopping list and remove any items you already have. Then go shopping to get what you need. For sanity sake, I never do grocery shopping and meal prep on the same day. It just makes for a terribly long day.

Step 3: Clean and organize your freezer and make space for the intended meals. From experience, I know you will need approximately 1 square foot of freezer space which roughly one shelf on a average sized side by side freezer/refrigerator combo.

Step 4: Using a permanent marker, label your gallon ziplock bags with the recipe name, cooking instructions and recommended side dishes. Writing a side dish recommendation on the bag makes meal planning easy since you can just pick which bag based on what sides you have in stock.

Step 5: Lay out all your room temperature ingredients including spices, seasonings and oils the night before along with your labeled bags.

Day of Meal Prep:
I start as early as possible especially now that it’s summer and the days are warming up. Invite a friend over to help, tune on some tunes or open a bottle of wine. I can’t drink since I’m expecting but by all means do whatever makes you the most comfortable even if that means doing this bra-less and in sweats. 🙂

Add all ingredients (minus the chicken) to each labeled bag one by one. If you are so inclined you can figure out how many recipes have over lapping ingredients and chop multiple veggies at the same time. For first timers, I really recommend going slow and completing each recipe one by one. It makes measuring a lot easier too. Clean as you go! Use paper towels to clean the seal of the freezer bags from any splattered ingredients.

Add all room temperature ingredients (plus frozen corn, peppers, ketchup and other minor refrigerated items) to all the bags first! Once all bags are done, add the fresh or frozen chicken last to all the bags at once. I prefer to use frozen chicken breasts. This process can take some time so it’s important that the chicken is the last thing you add so that it’s not sitting out for a prolonged amount of time!

Freezing Tips: Let out all excess air. Freeze each bag flat and fold the bag in half on itself to save space.

Cooking Tips: For best results, the crock-pot should be at least half full with your meals so choose the appropriate size crock-pot for cooking each meal. Also since it’s so hot, consider putting the crock-pot out on the front porch or out back to keep that extra heat out of the house.

Chicken Fajitas
(Makes two bags – divide ingredients evenly between two bags):
2 large chicken breasts
2 green peppers
1 cup chicken broth
2 taco seasoning packets
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt

Cooking: Grab from freezer, pour all contents into crock pot and cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours. Serve with: Tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream and refried beans or rice.

Slow Cooker Mexican Chili with Cornbread Topping – (makes two bags)
2 chicken breasts
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped (about one cup)
1 pepper (any color), chopped (about one cup)
1 cup frozen corn
1 package of store-bought taco seasoning
10.75 oz can of condensed tomato soup

1/4 pound cheese (we use cheddar or pepper jack), shredded (about one cup)
1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix + the necessary ingredients listed on the box (Jiffy calls for one egg and 1/3 cup milk)

Split all ingredients EXCEPT the cheese and muffin mix into two bags.
Cooking: Add bag to crock-pot, cover with lid and cook on “low” setting for 4-6 hours, until chicken is cooked through and tender. Shred chicken with fork. Cover shredded chicken chili with cheese and assembled corn muffin batter. Pour batter over chili. Add lid and cook on “high” setting for 60 minutes or until cornbread topping is cooked through.

Honey Sesame Chicken (Makes 2 bags – divide ingredients evenly):
2 large chicken breasts
6 T olive oil
1 Cup honey
1/2 Cup soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
2 T sesame seeds
2 tsp salt and pepper

Cooking: Pour in crock pot & cook on low 4-5 hrs. Remove chicken, shred & pour sauce from crock pot over it. We serve with rice or steamed vegetables.

Sweet & Sour Chicken (makes two bags – divide all ingredients evenly)
2 chicken breasts
1 white onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
½ c. ketchup
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
5-6 tsp. Worchestichire sauce
2 c. pineapple juice
1 c. brown sugar
½ c. flour
1 can pineapple chunks

Cooking: Pour bag in the crock-pot & cook on low for 4-5 hrs until chicken is done. Serve over white rice.

Crock-Pot Chicken Philly Cheesesteak (Makes two bags – divide evenly)
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup chicken broth
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 large onion; sliced
3 bell peppers (the more colorful the better), cut into strips
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 clove of garlic, minced

6 slices of provolone cheese

Divide all ingredients EXCEPT for cheese. Divide evenly.
Cooking: Cook on “low” setting for 6 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and peppers are soft. Lay cheese over mixture. Cook on “low” for additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve on a fresh, hot roll.
You can use as much or as little of the sauce as you would like, depending on how soggy you like your roll. I also like to serve it on the side and use it as a dip. Best served with homemade sweet potato fries!

Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Chicken (Divide Into Two Bags)
4 chicken breasts
BBQ sauce, 10 oz
¼ cup olive oil
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
salt/pepper (optional)

Cooking: Divide all ingredients into two gallon size storage bag and mix thoroughly. Thaw overnight. Place all contents into a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until done.

Serve with: Hawaiian sweet rolls as sliders, or serve with salad, side veggies or rice.

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken (Divide Into Two Bags)
4-6 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 Bottle BBQ sauce
1 20 oz. can Pineapple Chunks, drained

Cooking:
Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray for an easy cleanup!
Dump the bag in the crock pot. Cook on High for 3-4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours. Shred chicken with two forks while still in the crock pot so the chicken will be well coated with sauce.

Serve with: Rice or steamed vegetables.

Savings: 5 Ways to Get Fruit Trees For Cheap!


10846331_343059549199493_5316129382148842335_n

Here’s a collection of 9 fruit trees we purchased for less than $120 on Craigslist

We are always looking for opportunities to expand our orchard. We’ve got a few resources to share in helping you save money!

Here’s our top 5 best places to find cheap fruit trees:

5)  Your local newspaper classified ads –  Print newspaper is dying but people still use the classified ads. This is an easy way to find those with established nurseries and plants to move.

4) Nextdoor.com – Nextdoor.com is a social media site for neighbor. You can post a wanted ad for trees or you can check their classifieds section and see what you can find.

3) Local Garden Clubs – Garden clubs hosting frequent plant sales. A lot of the time they are cheaper and your contribution is tax-deductible which is a win – win.

2) Freecycle – This one is a long shot but when you find the right deal you’ll hit it big and for FREE!

And our number one BEST CHOICE for cheap fruit trees is Craigslist.org!

Ironically, we’ve had found Craigslist.org to be an incredible source for finding affordable one or year old fruit trees. There’s a lot of moving sale ads and that’s the number one reason people sell potted fruit trees. These trees are usually listed for $10-20 a piece which is half of nursery or store-bought prices. Plus these are usually much older and better established than the new store-bought fruit trees. So if you’re looking for your own trees, Craigslist is the best.

We purchased 9 fruit trees on Craigslist for $120! (See top image) That’s only $13.30 per tree! This included one olive, one pomegranate, one orange tree, two tangerine, one lemon, one apple, one mandarin tree and one thorn less blackberry bush. With the fresh fruit these beauties have already produced for us, they’ve already paid for themselves! Now that’s awesome and sustainable!

We will be selling some of the produce from them this year and save the profits for the next batch of cheap fruit trees! Invest and reinvest. Repeat!

Happy Hunting!