Living A Simplified Life!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Grandma’s Cast Iron Skillet

Oh how I miss having grandma’s cast iron skillet. Not only because it was the very best skillet I ever owned for creating evenly cooked, delicious foods but because of the memories I had of her using it before I inherited it.  I cried when it finally met it’s demise!  I’ve had a variety of skillets since then and none have cooked as well as that one did.  I have tried some of the new non-stick surface skillets as well as some stainless steel ones, but nothing cooked as well as grandma’s cast iron one. I am not sure if they just aren’t as good as the old fashioned cast iron ones, or if it is because they don’t conjure up all the wonderful memories of watching grandma cook.

I could cook everything from “johnny cake” and biscuits to fried chicken in there!  Not a day went by that I didn’t use it. In the morning it would get used for cooking fried eggs, beautiful sunny side up ones with just a smattering film over the top from splashing hot grease from the pan over them. At lunch time I would use it to make bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches or grilled cheese sandwiches. For dinner either a big skillet of fried chicken or a skillet filled with meat balls and sauce for spaghetti.  I could put it on top of the stove or in the oven and know that everything would be cooked to perfection.

It is time to invest in another cast iron skillet. I don’t want a new one, I want one that is old and crusted on the outside, that shows it was used and enjoyed over the years. There is nothing better than one that is well seasoned .

I am off to the second hand store to see if I can find someone else’s grandma’s skillet!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Making Your Own Saltine Crackers

Awhile back I purchased some Masa  flour to make corn  tortillas.  After several failed attempts I thought what am I ever going to do with 5 lbs of this flour so I started searching for recipes where I could use it.
I happen to love Saltine Crackers and came across a recipe where you not only use regular flour but Masa so I figured I would give it a try. What a simple recipe and I was so glad that I found it.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup masa flour (corn flour)
¾ cup shortening
11/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking flour

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flours, baking powder and shortening. Mix. Add milk and blend well
Make into a large round ball. Split the ball into 4 sections. Roll out a section at a time to 1/8 inch thickness.
Cut into squares using a knife, pizza cutter or pastry roller.

Sprinkle Salt (to taste) on an ungreased baking sheet.
Place dough onto sheet and prick the tops, using a fork, ½” apart.
Bake  for 14-20 minutes or until golden brown.

IF you do not have any Masa, you can substitute another cup of all purpose flour for that measurement.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Is Winter About Over?

Well according to our weatherman, we just have a couple more cold fronts that will move through Oklahoma before we can expect some spring weather.  One of those cold fronts is due to hit here tonight or overnight, bringing temperatures dropping down into the 20’s and followed by rain, sleet, ice and possibly snow to some parts of the state.  Luckily, in the middle of the state, where I am at, they say we are likely to have a “wintery mix” and possibly up to an inch of snow that should burn off sometime late on Friday.

All I know is that it is time for some comfort food!  So out comes the crock-pot and I am in the process of making some good homemade potato soup.  I love my daughter’s recipe but sorry to say I don’t have all the “extra goodies” that she puts into hers. She always adds sour cream and half and half into her soup, neither of which I have on hand at the moment. So I will substitute with a can of evaporated milk and add in a little extra butter in hopes of giving it that rich full bodied flavor.

I thought about doing some meatless chili, which I may make tomorrow or perhaps a big pan of mac and cheese, one of my all time favorites.

I am so anxious for the little buds of spring to start peaking thru the ground. I have a beautiful growth of daffodils or jonquils as some people call them, that I love to cut and bring in the house to brighten things up!

It is time to go visiting some of the gardening websites, I’m already getting emails about it being time to start some seedlings indoors in preparation for spring planting. This year, I have GOT to have a good producing garden. Last year’s was a total flop! 

I hope you are all pulling out your gardening magazines, or visiting your favorite gardening websites to get some ideas about what to plant this year.

Come on spring!