Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cooking With Lodge Skillets

Not everyone who avoids cooking as much as we do would take a big deter on a road trip to go to the factory store of Lodge cookware. Wild Bill and I did just that last year while on a trip to Georgia.

 Lodge cookware is made in a tiny little Tennesee town called South Pittsburg. Don't let the name fool ya. It is a charming and friendly little place way off the beaten path. Well...maybe Christmas night of 1927 got a little scary, but the town doesn't try to hide its history.
If you're a good southern cook, you might want to compete in the annual cook-off at the National Cornbread Festival held there each year.
We were in town to see where Lodge makes their cast iron cookware and buy some pieces for our kitchen. 
I bought this short cast iron dutch oven so cheaply it was worth tucking it under the backseat of the pickup truck and carrying it around with us through four or five states 'til we got home a week later.
 This Lodge scrub brush was easier to carry, but has proved to be worth its weight in gold. For years I've loved the idea of cooking with cast iron skillets and dutch ovens... 
but I would buy a cast iron skillet and try to follow the instructions for cleaning it (NO DISH SOAP, WATER ONLY) and end up with a grungy mess that I couldn't get out of the pan. Eventually I would end up throwing the skillet out or, if I could, give it away.
Since I learned about that little scrub brush, I've cooked with this large skillet for almost a year and have no problem brushing it clean with just water and my Lodge pan scrubber. To finish it off, wipe it dry and coat it with a thin layer of oil, then put it on the stove to heat for a few minutes.

Here's another item we bought at the Lodge factory that has proven useful beyond its small price. Meat Claws! Yes, I love them.
The claws are perfect for lifting meat off the grill, out of pots or whatever else you use to cook meat. We've used them to lift a big Thanksgiving turkey out of the roaster without any problem at all. Here I used them to lift a small turkey breast out of a slow cooker and into the Lodge skillet.
I found a yummy looking recipe on a cooking blog, which called for using a slow cooker to cook a small turkey breast. It just was not working for me, so after an hour in the slow cooker, I transferred the breast into the large skillet and put it in the oven at 350 for about an hour to finish it off.
I put the veggies into my Lodge dutch oven and baked them with the turkey until the veggies were done. The turkey breast was already cooked when I bought it, so I was just trying to heat it up and brown it a little.
The recipe called for adding a can of "whole berry " cranberry sauce, a package of onion soup mix, and some orange juice or chicken broth together and pouring it over a small turkey in a slow cooker. I used chicken broth because I had that on hand. I also added vegetables as my turkey breast was pre-cooked, not raw like the recipe called for.

Those are cranberries from the whole berry cranberry sauce on top of the turkey breast. The recipe said to strain them out, but I didn't bother. They add fiber and are good for you.
 While the turkey breast was sitting for 10 minutes, I made gravy right in the cooking pan. Iron skillets make the gravy especially dark and favorful, and I use my skillet to cook any meat I can in the oven. 
To make the gravy, I added enough flour to absorb the juices and stirred in the broth from the pan in which the vegetables cooked.
When Wild Bill saw me add a can of whole cranberry sauce to the chicken broth and then pour it into the slow cooker with the turkey, he was skeptical. When he took a bite of the meat and gravy, he looked shocked and said, "Jeeeze. Don't ever lose this recipe!!!" Well said Wild Bill.

I found this recipe via the Stockpiling Moms website, but they cite another website for the original recipe. You can find the recipe at Stockpiling Moms here, and you can find the original recipe at the site, Jamie Cooks It Up. Click under Jamie's picture of her dinner below to go to the original recipe for this meal. Her picture looks so much better than my picture of our meal, but believe me our meal was quite tasty even if it wasn't as pretty!

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Five Step Process

Friday again. Didn't realize until this morning it 's Memorial Day weekend. Time flies!

Here's the progress I've made on the painted pottery piece from Wednesday's post. I'm still working on the aging, but I do like it a lot better white than red.
Here's a picture of the before, in its original red state.
Step one, I painted the whole thing black and then, step two, I painted the outside white, but left the inside black.

Step three, after the white paint dried I used Annie Sloan's clear wax on the whole piece and let it dry a little. Step four, working in sections I rubbed on small doses of Annie Sloan's dark wax with a rag and then quickly wiped most of it off trying to leave darker areas in the decorative parts.

 Finally, step five, to give the pottery a little bit of shine I buffed the wax a little with some old, cut up T-shirts. 

Still not the final look I'm after, but I'm going to research aging techniques this weekend. Amy Howard Paints has an "aging dust" that I think might do a better job of aging the crevices. The nearest shop that carries the dust is down in McKinney, which is my favorite shopping town anyway. If I have to make a trip down it won't bother me one little bit.

For now, I'm joining Amy at Love Made My Home for Five On Friday. Hope you'll have time this weekend to check out the other posts there.

Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What I'm Working On Wednesday

Here's a picture of a painted lampshade that was in a shop several years ago. The pictures I have were taken at Christmas time so please disregard the bow and such. 
 I really regret not buying this lamp. It's large, and that would be good because I tend to buy too many small things. I checked recently and it was gone. sigh.

I've heard designers say "buy what you love and you'll find a place for it" and I'm sure that would be true in this case. Like I said, I really regret passing it by.
I'm on the lookout for a similar lamp and shade at local thrift shops and garage sales so I can try to paint it like this one. The search is on!

But that's a future project, and here's my current one... Down in McKinney recently, I took some pictures of the front window at the Gray Living store.
I love the white pottery with the handles and dark aged spots in the cracks and crevices...
They looked kind of familiar. When I got home I went looking in one of my storage spots up in the top of the cabinets. See the red pottery piece up there?
I thought I might be able to paint it an aged-white color, like the ones in the Gray Living window. I decided to use One-Step paint by Amy Howard. If anything will stick to slick pottery, this stuff will. They don't pay me to use this stuff, but they should! I buy my paint at a shop in McKinney, but I heard Ace Hardware carries it too. I've even used One-Step on metal before, like when middle daughter and I painted her chandelier here.

Before I painted this piece white, I decided to paint it black first to block out the red when I distress it. I'm hoping that will work...we'll see.
 I never really liked it in red and had considered donating this piece. I stuck it up in the cabinet a few weeks back while I made a decision. Now I'm so glad I hesitated because I'm really curious to see if the paint works on it!

I let it dry for a couple hours then took some more pictures. I'm going to let it dry overnight, to ensure the paint adheres well, before I start painting it white.
I use a lot of things from around the kitchen when I paint. Pint glass jars are my favorite way to paint small projects. I just dip my brush into the jar while I'm painting and cap the jars while I'm between coats.
I buy the white plastic caps at Walmart and just use a marker to note the brand and color of the paint. If I use the metal caps they come with, I put a baggie over the jar before I cap it. This keeps the paint from sticking to the lid and makes it easier to open and close the jars. 

In addition, I also use the freezer baggies to wrap up my brush between painting with them. You don't have to freeze the brushes or anything else that you might have heard. Just put the brush in a freezer baggie and get as much of the air out as you can. I leave these for days without washing them out when I'm working on projects. It might not work for you, but it works well for me. 
 Both of these brushes have chalk paint on them. I've used them for about 4 days now without washing them out. When I take them out of the freezer baggie, I throw the messy bag away and then wrap the brush in a new one when I'm done painting. We buy the BIG packs of Ziplocks at Costco or Sams.
So that's as far as I got today on this piece. In addition, I painted my favorite victim, the rolling bookcase, again. Yep, coat 2,647! It's back to white, and now waiting for some wax to finish it off, and then it gets two hooks for each side and it'll be done (maybe) for good.

This Friday is going to be "Finish It Friday" for the five projects I've got going on. Hope you'll come back then and see how they turn out.

Thanks for dropping in!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Five On Friday...Old And Blue

It's Friday again so I'm joining Amy at Love Made My Home for Five On Friday and Jann at Share Your Cup Thursday. I've chosen old and blue for my theme today.

One, this old blue mason jar has been in my stash for quite a while. So long that I don't even remember when I got it, but I'm sure it came from a garage sale some time in the 80's.  
The front says it was patented on Nov 30th in the 1800's. It's a little rough for wear on the top and a little cloudy, but a favorite none the less.

Two, this vintage blue strainer with perfectly chipped sides and bottom. I love its old skinny handles and all the holes in the bottom and sides. The blue vintage color is just about perfect to me. Have you noticed the ones they make these days have very few holes and do a poor job of draining?

Three, this old vintage blue-gray galvanized metal bin with blue faux flowers on the shelf. I don't know how old the galvanized metal bin is, but the faux flower arrangement in the bin is one I bought at Costco in 1991 or 1992. Yeah, that's 24 years ago and they've lasted a lot longer than any real ones I tried to grow.

Four, there's lots of blue in this old vintage family quilt from Wild Bill's side of the family. My mother-in-law is 90 now and she was a young girl when this one was made.

Five, these old vintage pillow shams I bought at a flea market meet down in McKinney several years ago. The shams were faded when I bought them, but I loved the material and the color too. I could've bought the quilt that matched them for just $10, but I wasn't smart enough to realize I could use all that material to make pillows or trim draperies and such. 

Well, that's my five! I've been searching the house for all things blue to put together a blue and white bedroom for the first time in many years. 

I wrote a while back about how, during the late 80's, I painted the whole house blue in a pre-divorce life and have shunned blue since then. I didn't realize how depressed I was (I even painted the kitchen blue) until a car crash in 1991 woke me up to the fact that you can't stay in a bad marriage for everyone else, you have to live for yourself -- no matter what.

Thanks for dropping by!