Skillet Cornbread

I’m starting to appreciate my cast iron skillet more and more these days. One of the things I use it for very regularly is to bake cornbread in.

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Growing up, we just baked cornbread in a glass baking pan and it was more cake-like. Thanks to the culinary expertise of my dear husband, I learned how to make it in a good ole’ black cast iron skillet. Now I bake it this way usually about once a week, often to accompany chili or soup.

The recipe I follow comes from this awesome vintage cookbook I found at a yard sale:

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I adapted it as my own when, on a whim, I subbed in coconut oil for vegetable oil or shortening. We loved the result, so that’s what I’ve used ever since! Besides the coconut oil, I think it’s key to put your empty skillet in the oven for maybe 10 or so minutes to get it nice and hot before putting the batter in.

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Skillet Cornbread

1 C flour

1/4 C sugar

4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 C yellow corn meal

2 beaten eggs

1 C milk

1/4 C coconut oil

Preheat oven to 425 and place empty skillet in to warm up. Sift together all of the dry ingredients. Add in eggs, milk, and oil. Pour batter into greased cast iron skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes.

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Homemade Wheat Crackers

I’m very excited about this recipe! My gang loves their crackers, so you know I jumped on it when I found a recipe for homemade wheat crackers in the latest Penzeys Spice catalog.

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I’ve only tried making crackers one other time, a Cheez-it replica that turned out to be sort of a fail. (To make your day, I can tell you that I have my share of “fails”–I just usually don’t publish them!) They were okay, but way too salty and either too well done or not done enough. In other words, I didn’t roll them out to the same exact thickness, which apparently is crucial in making crackers. So, to help redeem myself, I gave this recipe a try. Surprisingly, they turned out pretty good!

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This recipe makes a decent-sized batch, so for me it was worth the effort. As a bonus, you know exactly what’s in them and can serve them up for snack or pack in lunchboxes for your kiddos. They are the bomb when paired up with some good cheese.

Wheat Crackers

1 C wheat flour

1 C all-purpose flour

1/3 C poppy seeds

1/3 C white sesame seeds (I didn’t have any, so mine were missing these and were fine)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3 TB olive oil

3/4 C water

In large mixing bowl, combine the flours, seeds, salt, and baking powder. Add the oil and water and stir to combine. Knead a few times until well mixed. Pull into 8 sections, cover with a tea towel, and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes. Preheat oven to 450. Sprinkle counter or table with flour and roll out 1 section so it is very thin. Cut into squares and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 8-12 minutes. Do this for each section of dough. Store in an airtight container.

*Note-If you own a pasta maker, you could also use it for rolling out the dough into thin sheets. I know nothing about pasta makers, but Penzey’s recommends running it through until it is on setting 4.

 

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Lace Embellished Tee

I haven’t made any good projects involving clothing lately– at least none where I embellish upon something that’s already made. (I have made a few pieces from scratch lately, but that’s for another day.)

Upon seeing lots of cool lace inspired clothing lately, I decided to pretty up a basic long-sleeved T.

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It was really pretty darn simple once I got cracking on it.

Here’s the basics of what I did:

lace shirt, wheat crackers 001I started off with a basic knit t-shirt in this blue color. Since I’m a sucker for darker blue paired with white, I pulled out a Goodwill lace table runner thing that had been sitting in my fabric stash.

lace shirt, wheat crackers 002After literally slicing off the longer end pieces off the runner, I pinned them down the middle of my tee, placing the straight sides so they touch. I also left a tail of about 1-2″ at the top and bottom, tucking them underneath into the inside of the shirt. If you do this or something similar, use lots of pins! After making sure everything was in its proper place, I zig-zag stitched down the middle using white thread. This adhered both pieces to the middle portion. Following this I used a straight stitch down the side of each lace strip. I screwed up once and had to break out my trusty seam ripper to fix the situation. Another warning: knit material like this is sorta stretchy while the lace is not, so make you don’t have any bunchiness going on as you sew.

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That’s pretty much it. Now I have a new Tee to wear this fall and winter. The only thing I may change is the neckline–I don’t love how it looks just yet, so it may get fixed up a bit more, but I haven’t decided on how I want it.

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Paired up with my current favorite pair of earrings (which are a steal on amazon!), I really enjoyed wearing my new Tee to usher in some fall weather.

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10 Earthy Ways to Decorate for Fall

Just in case you’re finally pulling together some fall decorations, or want to spruce up your current look, I rounded up some ideas that take minimal materials. By scrounging around your home, yard, and surrounding area, it’s likely that you may have most of the supplies for these pretty decor ideas already on hand.

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A pumpkin turned vase for mums–I have actually done this idea before, and it looks beautiful. Some great step by step directions are available on Kojo Designs.

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If this one looks familiar, it’s because I made it on my blog last fall! No, they’re not “all natural,” but I had to throw it in the list. Mine used canning bands, rolled burlap, and a little felt for an accent leaf.

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I love the beachy vibe of these linen and driftwood pumpkins. Find the easy picture tutorial over here. (Bet you can’t guess what is under those linen strips!)

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These acorn luminaries take very few materials to make and look great.

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Isn’t this basket of white pumpkins gorgeous? I especially love the burlap chevron ribbon that dresses it up! Check out this blog for more details.

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This burlap no-sew table runner, wheat centerpiece, and white pumpkins are from my cousin Leslie’s blog. (Go check her out!)

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This layered hurricane vase contains popcorn kernels, dried red beans, and lentils.

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I think these sheaves of wheat tied to the stair spindles are unique and elegant in their own way.

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This acorn wreath is simple and beautiful. A great tutorial for it is found right here.

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And while we’re on the subject of wreaths, I absolutely adore this one made out of a wood slice. So stinking cool, and great for fall or winter. Check out East Coast Creative for the step by step on how to make it. This idea is one I’ve already shown my better half–just so he has a heads up in case I need to get my hands on a wood slice one of these days! (Yes, according to him, I am the Queen of Not-So Subtle Hints sometimes. Shocking, right?)

No-Stir Granola

Ever get into a breakfast rut?

I do sometimes. I love breakfast, but I like to mix it up once in a while with something different on weekday mornings.

The beauty of this recipe is that it could easily be eaten for breakfast, or as a tasty snack any old time.

Oh yes, I made this over the weekend and have been noshing on it a piece at a time. My hands can’t seem to stay away from that tupperware container with the granola in it!

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This is a hearty granola that can be baked on a rimmed baking sheet, with no need to stir it during the baking time. The result is a crunchy granola that you break apart once it’s cooled.

(Other granola recipes, like this one I posted a couple of years ago, has you stirring it periodically.)

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Here’s the recipe that I followed to make this nice crispy treat:

1/3 C maple syrup

1/3 C brown sugar

3 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C vegetable oil

3 C rolled oats

1 1/2 C nuts

1/2 C coconut

2 C dried fruit

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray. Spread mixed granola out onto sheet. Bake at 325 F for 30-40 minutes. Once this is cool, break apart and place pieces in an airtight container. Eat by itself or covered with milk.