Seasoning Your Cast Iron

IMG_2877After I bought my first piece of cast iron I was so excited to bring it home and show it off to my husband.  I loved the weight and feel of it and how cast iron has been used for hundreds of years as a cook surface.  I then promptly let it sit on my shelf for almost a year before I actually used it.  Why, you ask?  I was super intimidated by it.  I had no idea how to care for it or even cook with it.  I just knew I wanted to.

So eventually I got tired of moving it out of the way every time I went to grab a pan and decided I need to buck up and learn how to use it properly.  I read many different articles and watched YouTube videos and began to try out simple meals.  I slowly learned cooking with cast iron really wasn’t as much about how I actually cooked on it but more so how important it was to properly care for it.   Here is a basic how-to post on how to properly clean and season your cast iron so it will last you for years and years, consistently pumping out delicious creations.

Seasoning:

Most cast iron comes pre seasoned.  This means that they coated it for you buttttttttt in my experience it is still best to give your cast iron another seasoning when you bring it home.

Pre-Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Place a cookie sheet on the rack directly underneath the one your pan will go on (this is to catch any oil drippings that may happen while you are seasoning).

Lightly rub a cooking oil all over the pan so that it is completely covered in a light/thin oil.  I generally use organic palm shortening for this.

Place the skillet upside down directly onto the rack and bake it in the oven for 1 hour.  Let it cool completely and you are done.  It isn’t a bad idea to do this 2-3 times before your first time cooking on your pan.

Re-Seasoning:

You will notice over time you may need to re-season your cast iron because your food is beginning to stick to it more or it is becoming harder to clean it.  This is normal.  I like to try and re-season all my cast iron when it is warm enough outside to have the windows opened.  It gets a little smokey and stinky when you do this.  Again, this is normal.  You may also notice that if you haven’t used your cast iron in a while it might start to get a little rust on it or have an odor to it.  Re-seasoning will fix these problems for you and your skillet will be as good as new!

Begin by lightly scrubbing your cast iron with steel wool to get any rust off or stubborn stuck on food that can’t be removed by normal cleaning methods (click here to learn more about every day care for your cast iron).  

Rinse all the debris off with water.  Dry the skillet and rub all over with a cooking oil (again, I use a vegetable shortening for this but any oil with a smoke point over 350 degrees will work).

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place a cookie sheet on the rack directly under the one your skillet will be placed on.  Turn your skillet upside down on the rack and cook for 1 hour.  Let cool completely.  Once cooled, touch the pan and make sure the seasoning is smooth and not tacky or sticky.  If it is you will need to use a higher temperature.  You will have to re-season it again before you can cook with it.  Start over again by lightly scrubbing it with the steel wool, coating with a thin layer of cooking oil, and baking at a higher temperature- try 375 degrees for another hour.  This should do the trick.

Good luck to you!  I hope you learn to love cooking on your cast iron just as much as I do!

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Paleo Blueberry Muffins

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Wouldn’t you love to have a blueberry muffin recipe that is delicious, low carb, and full of nutritious fats and proteins instead of sugar and more sugar?  Well here you go!  This recipe is all of that and is fairly easy to make.  I use frozen wild blueberries because they hold up to mixing well but if you try it with fresh blueberries let me know how you like it- I imagine it will be just as delicious!

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare your muffin tin by either using muffin liners or greasing the tin with coconut oil.  Using your stand mixer or hand held mixer in a large bowl whisk the eggs.  Add in the vanilla and honey and continue to mix (reserve the blueberries for the end).  In a smaller bowl mix together the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix together.  Once the ingredients are fully blended, add in the blueberries and gently mix using a wooden spoon or spatula (trying not to smoosh the blueberries).  Fill each muffin tin up 3/4 of the way. Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Let cool, serve, and enjoy!

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Face Wash Serum

IMG_2817Well if you didn’t think I was crazy before, you surely will when you begin to read this post, but bear with me and keep an open mind. I’m about to ask you to wash oil off your face using (wait for it) oil. I PROMISE you will love this. It is ah-mazing.

I started to use oil to wash my face years ago and when my last bottle ($30 2 ounce bottle mind you) fell in my shower and broke I decided right then and there that I could make this at home for 1/4 the cost and all of the same benefits. And after working on this recipe and finally finding the right blend, I have had more people comment on how good my skin looks than I have had in years.

This recipe came to be after researching the oil cleansing method explained in great detail at http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/

To sum it up: oil dissolves oil. Plus it moisturizes and is much more gentle on your skin than using soap.

And did you know that the oil your skin produces is actually your body’s way of cleansing/detoxifying itself? So if your skin is ridiculously oily or if you are prone to acne the best way to treat your skin it to take a hard look at your diet and your skin care routine. The health of your skin is a direct reflection of what is going on inside. This is another great reason to consider eating a clean diet and to try to limit yourself from extra environmental toxins.

Here is how you make your life changing face serum (Okay–I know I am selling this a little too hard–I’ll back off now):
Since there are so many options and sizes for containers I broke this down into parts as a form of measurement to help make this easier for you.
2/3 parts castor oil
1/3 parts avocado or jojoba oil
3-4 drops of your favorite essential oil (I love orange and eucalyptus)

Pour ingredients into a glass container (I use a dark 1.5 ounce bottle with a dropper as you only need a few drops to wash your entire face).

For best results, warm a washcloth and lay it over your face for 10-15 seconds to wake up your skin. Put 3-4 drops of the face serum onto your finger tips and massage into your face. Using warm water and your washcloth, lightly rub the washcloth over your face to remove the oils. I like to do this in the shower.  The warm water and steam from the shower work great to help open your pores.  An extra bonus with using this method of skin care is that your face is going to feel so soft and moisturized after doing this and you will most likely not need to follow up with a lotion.

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Gluten Free Bread

IMG_2185If you are making the choice to go gluten free and/or paleo you need to have a great bread recipe that is versatile and holds up under pressure (and by that I mean can stick together when your BLT is a little heavy on the B).

This bread has a great texture, taste, and fluffiness.  And better yet, you mix all your ingredients together in the food processor so you’ll have less to wash after you bake. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Dry:
2 and 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt

Wet:
1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup oil (I used avocado)
6 eggs
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp honey

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Add all of your dry ingredients to the food processor and blend for 30 seconds.  Add the wet ingredients and blend until the batter is fully mixed and smooth.

Using a 9”x5” loaf pan, lightly coat it with coconut oil or shortening and add the batter. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Remove from the bread pan by running a knife around the edge (between the bread and the pan) and turning it upside down over a cooling rack. Give it a gentle shake and the bread should fall out easily.

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