TWOsday Recipes

Hi, y’all! I hesitate to even call what I’m sharing today “recipes.” I wanted to share some easy go-to ideas for your events. Each recipe has only TWO ingredients!

First, my favorite sweet dip is what I call Marshmallow Fruit Dip. Simply combine a 7-ounce jar of marshmallow creme with an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese. Whip it together by hand or in a stand mixer. This is a hit with my kids! They love dipping grapes and strawberries into it.My next delicious duo is Chili-Cheese Dip. Combine an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese with a 10-ounce can of chili (no beans). Heat on the stove until the cheese has melted. Bake in a cast iron skillet in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips!

Another savory dip is the Classic Cheese Dip. For a 16-ounce brick of processed cheese (Velveeta), add two 10-ounce cans of tomatoes with chiles (Ro-Tel). I always just put mine in the crock pot. This is also perfect with Fritos or tortilla chips!

Finally, my last recipe is for making sugar molds! This is the easiest way to fancy up a tea party. Just add 1/2 teaspoon of water for every 1/2 cup of sugar. Blend both items in a food processor until all sugar is evenly wet. Spoon into mold, making sure to pack the sugar down well.

Invert onto a cookie sheet by placing the cookie sheet upside down on the mold and then turning both over. Gently remove the mold and let the sugar molds rest for at least 30 minutes.

Get these flower-shaped molds for only $1.99!


Or try the heart-shaped molds, if that’s more your style.

Southern Cooking With A Cast Iron Skillet

One of my favorite kitchen tools is the classic cast iron skillet. My mom and granny both cooked in one religiously. My granny’s cornbread skillet has to be the smoothest and best seasoned skillet I know. My mom has a rare talent for finding old, warped skillets and making them like new again with her seasoning skills.

Seasoning in this instance is not like salt and pepper, for those who don’t know. Seasoning refers to a technique for prepping a cast iron skillet. If you treat a cast iron skillet correctly, you won’t need to season regularly.

Soap should never be used on cast iron skillets.

Trust me on this. The skillet is very porous, so the soap residue will remain, which will seep out into your food. My home economics teacher in high school taught us that the very best way to clean a cast iron skillet is with hot water. One you’ve cleaned it, heat it on the stove to ensure that every droplet of water is removed.

If you find an old skillet (those are my favorite kind), the rare exception to soap maaay be right before you season it. This is incredibly debated, though. If you choose to use soap, make sure you use a heavy duty scrubber with lots of hot water after you do so.

After you dry it, rub a thin layer of vegetable oil all over the interior of the pan. I mean thin. You don’t want build up on your pan. Finally, place your skillet upside down in a 400-degree oven for an hour.

Lard was originally used in place of oil. This is still commonly used by people who regularly use their skillet. Animal fat, though, can go rancid if you don’t use your skillet often, so this will need to be a personal preference.

Once your skillet is seasoned, you can just maintain it. To maintain, sfter you wash your skillet with hot water, add a very, very minute amount of oil to your pan. I also like to place paper towels in between skillets.

While old skillets are my favorite, Lodge is a great brand, so I wanted to at least give y’all a link if y’all are interested in looking into these skillets more. Click on picture to learn more!

If you cook with cast iron, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

Here’s a super, super easy two-ingredient “recipe” for you to try!

Combine an 8-oz brick of cream cheese with a can of Hormel chili (no beans for us Texans). Heat on top of top to melt cheese. Place in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Monogrammed Cutting Boards

When I was very young (before my fascination with Pottery Barn began), I loved when my mom would get the Lillian Vernon catalog in the mail. The whole magazine captivated me with the monogrammed cheese boards, monogrammed hats and bags and monogrammed blankets. “Personalized” is the term the magazine seems to prefer. My mom is not a huge lover of monogrammed items and is very practical overall, so the magazine iteself really appealled to my extravagant self. I knew these items were not “needed” necessarily, but I loved it just the same. It really is simply a personal preference.

However, I love gifts that the receiver wouldn’t normally buy for him or herself. A monogrammed cutting board or cheese board is a great choice. It’s something they can use, so it doesn’t just sit there and collect dust. It’s not something you need to know their clothing size for, and there are options for every budget.

This one is absolutely beautiful, but at nearly $50, it’s not practical for every person.

This one is under $30, and I absolutely love it because the receiver(s) can use it or display it on their wall.

Whatever you choose, I’m sure you’ll find yourself and your gift greatly appreciated!

 

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Hats Off To You!

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, men removed their hats in buildings. Regardless of the man’s age, this no longer seems to occur like it should, so I’d like to explain why it would be wonderful if we brought this back.

I’m sure many of you have heard the expression, “hats off to you.” The removal of one’s hat is a gesture of respect, which is the core reasoning behind men removing their hats inside of a building. It is respectful to those around you. A man’s hat, unlike a lady’s hat, is generally utilitarian in nature. It serves a purpose, whereas a lady’s hat is often a part of her outfit. That being said, if a lady is wearing a baseball cap or a utilitarian-style cap, she, too, should remove it when indoors.

Back when gloves were common, gloves were considered a slightly utilitarian part of the woman’s outfit, which is why she would remove her gloves prior to eating. Many things that are considered “fancy” now, such as an inner envelope of a wedding invitation had a “work” purpose when they first came into practice. In that case, the exterior envelope was a protectant layer to the actual envelope of the invitation and would be removed prior to delivery. Similarly, a man’s hat protects his head from the cold and/or sun. A lady’s hat most often does not. A lady’s hat is meant to be part of her outfit, which is why hers may remain on.

When we embrace differences, we create culture.

I understand that it’s popular in today’s world to think that men and women should be treated absolutely the same regardless of what differences may be there. However, I’ve yet to see a hat a man has worn that would be considered part of his outfit. Something I think is important to keep is mind that different does not mean one must be superior to the other.

I hope this post has explained the “why” behind a man removing his hat inside, and I hope it will encourage the men readers to do so going forward. Thank you for reading!

A Piece of Cake

“A party without cake is just a meeting.” – Julia Child

 

Mrs. Child and I wholeheartedly agree on the necessity of cake (or another sweet) at a party. My mother-in-law’s birthday was this past Saturday, and she, my brother-in-law and my nephew all came over to our house for a family party. We grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, and I make Paula Deen’s Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake. It lives up to its name. It’s simple to make, but it tastes wonderful (even if you fail to realize you don’t have McCormick Imitation Strawberry Extract).

Considering that I have four patterns of china (Lenox Vintage Jewel Platinum-Banded Bone China 5-Piece Place Setting, Service for 1, Lenox Autumn Gold-Banded Fine China 5-Piece Place Setting, Service for 1, Noritake Crestwood Cobalt Platinum 5-Piece Place Setting and Noritake Crestwood Platinum – 5 piece place setting) and two full sets of silver-plated flatware, you would think that somewhere along the way I’d use my silver-plated cake server. I just rarely think to go to my dining room, sadly, to get my utensils. My go-to is a much less expensive set I’ve picked up along the way. It doesn’t match my everyday flatware, which is Oneida Julliard 20-Piece Flatware Set, Service for 4, but that’s completely ok.

I enjoy using my serving utensils, and I love how decadent it feels slicing into a frosted cake. If you do not have a set that currently matches your pattern, here are two lower-cost options I recommend: Reed & Barton 04230800 Lyndon 2-Piece Dessert Set with 13-Inch Knife and 11-Inch Server and Wallace Hotel Pie Server and Cake Knife Set.

Reed & Barton Serving Set

Wallace Hotel Serving Set

Both options include the knife and server, which is my preference over a serated server. I think these options are both beautiful and are a perfect house warming or hostess gift, as it’s sure to get lots of use over the years.

Even if you don’t entertain often, it’s okay to want to enjoy to small things. Sometimes the kids and I will make a cake or pie, and we’ll serve it up on some of my china dessert plates on a random Tuesday.  These are the memories I hope last them for a lifetime. I hope you’re able to make memories like these, as well! Happy eating!

 

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