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Back Up Again

February 28th, 2018

Years ago, my mom gave me this stitched clock. She made it when she was pregnant with me and living in the Amazon jungle in San Jose del Guaviare in Colombia, S.A. (perhaps some of you don’t know I was born in Colombia). I believe it was a kit that she purchased.

I’ve always loved it, for a lot of reasons. It’s quaint, it’s cute, it’s handmade. My dad made the frame/box. It has a very questionably attached piece of glass in the front, the wire is held on by small nails. I would like to figure out how to clean it, though I’m not sure if I can. It seems to have been glued to a piece of plywood before being mounted.

In our home in Ohio, it had a special spot in our living room. When we moved to Maine, I wasn’t sure where to hang it, so it was stored in the spare bedroom. This past weekend I finally decided to hang it in the dining room. It’s not the perfect spot, but it’s better than nothing. I love being able to see it as I walk by. Because of the placement I see it about 50 times a day and it makes me smile. Reminds me of my mom.

Do you have any family treasures that you keep in prominent places so you can see them frequently?

Friday Favorite: All Things Cast Iron

October 10th, 2014

It’s no secret that I love cast iron, you’ve probably noticed that it crops up in many of my cooking photos. I use my old Griswold cast iron skillet more than any other piece of cookware I own. It was left in the first house my parents bought back when I was only a few months old, my mom gave it to me many years ago. It has been used daily ever since. I cook anything and everything in it!
cast iron
Most recently I found a cast iron muffin pan and a corn stick pan (which I can’t wait to use). The muffin pan is great, I really have been happy with the way it has cooked both muffins and eggs when I used it.

One of the things I love about cast iron is that it is so versatile, you can fry bacon and eggs for breakfast, a toasted cheese sandwich for lunch, tuna steak for dinner and a pandowdy for dessert.

cast iron 2

Whenever possible I use cast iron for cooking, mostly because I love the way it cooks and it’s non toxic. No worries about non-stick coating coming off. As a result of my love of cast iron I have collected various pieces including cast iron bread pans and a cast iron pizza pan that gets used as a skillet on the stove top and as a cookie sheet in the oven, along with a collection of smaller skillets and one very small dutch oven.

One of the reasons I love cast iron is that it’s durable, it will last you the rest of your life and you can pass it on to future generations. The skillet in the front below, was the one gifted to me by my mom. It’s a Griswold and nearest I can tell is that it was made sometime in the 1920’s. Cast iron will also replace your microwave and toaster in the kitchen, if you’re into downsizing and minimizing a cast iron skillet or two will go a long way in your efforts of pairing down in the kitchen. Leftovers heat up like a dream and you really can’t get a better piece of toast!
cast iron 3
I find a cast iron skillet to be so versatile, when I travel it goes with me, it’s the only pan I carry. My trusty Griswold has been across the country in just about every direction. It has cooked eggs for breakfast in over 30 different states.
camping cast iron
My skillet is even used as my popcorn popper!
cast iron 5
Cast iron cookware also cooks like a dream. If you keep the skillet properly seasoned you just can’t beat the way it cooks an egg, mushrooms, or a steak. It’s also a healthy option for cooking, because it’s not adding weird chemicals into your food like non-stick and another kinds of cookware does. You want to make sure you buy vintage cast iron or cookware that’s made by a reputable company if you’re buying new otherwise you may not be getting great quality.
cast iron 1
Another beautiful thing about cast iron is that is goes from stovetop, to oven, to table with ease. It heats evenly helping you cook food to perfection and then keeps it warm at the table, doing it all with classic beauty that can only be achieved with time and frequent use.
The newest additions to my cast iron collection are a few Staub enameled dutch ovens Staub enameled dutch ovens Mr Chiots got me for Christmas a few years ago. I must admit, they’re as great as I expected. They have pretty much made my stainless steel pots gather dust. They are essentially stove top slow cookers, I often have a pot of soup bubbling away in one during the cold months. If the wood burner is on they can take the heat and bubble away cooking dinner while the stove warms the house. They are also perfect for baking the perfect artisan bread, mimicking an expensive steam oven, they were the missing peace in my quest to making perfect crusty bread at home!
bread in cast iron
As you can see my love affair with cast iron began long ago and only growers stronger with each day. In fact I love it so much that my go-to gift for newlyweds is always a pair of cast iron skills, both a new one and a vintage one, along with this beautiful cast iron cookbook filled with beautiful recipes and tips and techniques for using cast iron. In the card I always mention the long lasting durable qualities of cast iron along with wishes that their relationship also stands the test of time like a cast iron skillet.

Are you a cast iron cookware lover? 

Older is Better

June 6th, 2012

I’ve been wanting to get Mr Chiots a White Mountain hand crank ice cream machine for quite a while. I looked at the new ones, but after reading some of the reviews, I decided a vintage one would be better quality. For the past couple months I’ve been looking for a used one for sale that was in great shape. Last week I finally found on over on Yesterday & Tomorrow store on Etsy.

It’s a 6 quart beauty in almost mint condition and I scored it for only $110! It came beautifully packaged a vintage pillowcases with lovely crocheted lace (and they sent it’s pair). Needless to say, Mr Chiots is really excited to make sure it works.

I love it when I can find something vintage instead of buying new, generally I find that it’s much better quality than a new one. Every now and then I get impatient and buy something new and usually I’m disappointed with the quality. I’m very thankful for places like Etsy that make it much easier to find great vintage items.

What’s something you’ve purchased new that you wish you had been able to find an older version of?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.