Monthly Archives: February 2013

02/27/13

Back in the Fire

So many times, the fabulous ideas I have the pleasure of writing about are not my own. Such is the case with this. Thank you for sharing this precious, sweet story with me…You both know who you are! I feel it’s a story we can all learn from and can be encouraged by.

 

On Monday, I shared with you my unabashed love for a cast iron skillet. Many would look at a cast iron skillet and scratch their heads wondering, “what’s so special about this?” That someone was a precious friend of mine, we’ll call her Dee, when she wed the love of her life many years ago.

Dee was just thrilled to be attending her first wedding shower given by her soon-to-be mother-in-law and her friends. I am sure that she had just the right outfit picked out, had painted her finger nails just so, and made sure she crossed her ankles rather than her legs as she sat in front of the all women opening gifts “oohing” and “ahhhing” at all the right moments. One such gift was a cast iron skillet, given by one of her mother-in-law’s friends, someone she barely knew at the time. It was already seasoned and wrapped up in a simple box.

Dee recalls feeling somewhat disappointed in the gift when she first uncovered it. As many of you know, a seasoned cast iron skillet takes on a dirty or well-used look, not pretty, black, and shiny like you see on the store shelves. Little did she realize the love and care that woman put into seasoning, baking, wiping, repeat, seasoning, baking, wiping, repeat. But, she accepted it graciously and took it to the home she would share with her new husband in just a few short weeks.

Now, some 25+ years later, Dee says that she uses that cast iron skillet just about every night, and has used it since the very beginning. The flavor that is imparted is unmatched by any other cookware she has in her cupboards. How precious that simple gift ended up being for Dee!

Dee has since then shared this story with other women around here likening that dirty cast iron skillet to how the Savior “seasons” us, His children. He gives us a little seasoning, puts us in the fire, tests us, takes us back out, cares for us, and loves us. But, you know what? Sometimes we have to go back in the fire from time to time don’t we?

The Bible says in I Peter 4:12-13, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

Whoa! I don’t know about you, but when I walked the aisle at Church Easter Sunday at the age of 9 and shook the Pastor’s hand, I don’t think I realized that is what I signed up for.

Suffering? Rejoicing? Do those 2 words even belong in the same sentence?

Again in Romans 12:12 we are told to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer.”

 One of my favorite verses, and perhaps my life verse, is II Corinthians 12:9, “But the Lord said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.”

Oh, how glad I am that HE is revealed in my weakness. That He shows Himself in the midst of my suffering. That He is good and faithful and will never leave me in my tribulations. He never promised that the “seasoning” of life would be easy, but He did promise He would be there to walk the road with us. That He would come along side us. That He would send people to us that could help us, encourage us, love us. That He would complete the work He began in us until the day He returns.

That fire burns. It’s hot. It’s painful. It’s unpleasant. But, the wonderful beauty that is revealed when fully seasoned in Him is something that bears much fruit and a strong witness. May we never grow weary sharing Him!

Father, I want to be fully seasoned with you, not the seasonings of this world. Only you Father. May you continue to teach, love, encourage, and season us along the way. We know that the fiery circumstances of life are a part of the journey. But, we thank you for your promises of never leaving or forsaking us and completing that “good work” you have begun in us.

We love you…

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02/25/13

‘All Things Southern’

Post 1… the Cast-Iron skillet

An idea for a blog post was suggested to me sharing the notion of “all things Southern” and immediately, a few topics came to mind. So, this will be a fun series, not single blog post, number still undetermined at this time, sharing traditions, ideas, recipes, and notions that are as unique as us Southern women.

Lesson #1 in “All things Southern”- How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet

Last year I shared with you an entire post chronicling the life and times of my cast iron skillet. You can read it here. It is a wonderfully, lovely “have to have” in any Southern lady’s kitchen.

Those of you who have never cooked in cast iron… shame on you! This is Atlanta, honey! Well, Bless your heart!

So, for those cast iron virgins, this is an easy lesson in cast iron care from seasoning to cooking and finally to cleaning.

How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet:

Step 1: Wash your skillet with hot water and dry completely.

Step 2: Coat the skillet with cooking oil, bacon grease, or lard (that’s probably what my great-grandmother used) and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour or 275 degrees for 2 hours. The lower and slower method may prove to be more effective.

Step 3: Repeat as often as you like until the surface takes on a shiny black non-stick looking surface. Each time you use the skillet, heating oil up inside, you will continue the seasoning process. It only gets better with age!

Step 4: Dry out with paper towels and it is ready for use!

*Animation from Real Simple

Cleaning your Cast Iron Skillet:

This pan is not the “set aside and I will soak later pan”, it is best if you soak in hot water immediately after use. If you need to remove stuck-on food or other forms of residue, use a mild abrasive such as salt or a non-metal scrubbing-brush to protect the surface. NEVER, and I do mean NEVER pull out the trusty steel wool. That is death to a cast iron skillet. You can use a few drops of dishwashing soap every now and again, but do not make a habit of it. For storing, cover with a paper towel to prevent dust from settling.

Your cast-iron will serve you for decades. And it is useful for all sorts of recipes: fried chicken, sautéed vegetables, flaky buttermilk biscuits, cobblers and crumbles, even deep-dish chocolate chip cookie cake but I have to say my favorite may also be the most simple. It is good old-fashioned cornbread. With a big bowl of chili, few things in life compares. And what could be more southern than cornbread?

Pioneer Woman’s Recipe for Skillet Cornbread is divine, so I will share it with you!

PW’s Skillet Cornbread

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Shortening
  • 2 Tablespoons Shortening

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Stir together.

3. Measure the buttermilk and milk in a measuring cup and add the egg. Stir together with a fork. Add the baking soda and stir.

4. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until combined.

5. In a small bowl, melt 1/4 shortening. Slowly add melted shortening to the batter, stirring until just combined. In an iron skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons shortening over medium heat. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Spread to even out the surface. (Batter should sizzle)

6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Edges should be crispy! Cut into triangles and enjoy! 🙂

*Recipe & photo courtesty of www.thepioneerwoman.com

So, y’all come back now!

“Being Southern isn’t talking with an accent…or rocking on a porch while drinking sweet tea, or knowing how to tell a good story. It’s how you’re brought up — with Southerners, family is sacred; you respect others and are polite nearly to a fault; you always know your place but are fierce about your beliefs. And food along with college football — is darn near a religion.”
Jan Norris

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