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How to Clean and Maintain Your Cast Iron Skillet

Good Friday morning, Moppers! We’ve finally reached that day of the week where even if it’s raining cats and dogs, who cares? It’s almost the weekend, and nothing—not even a torrential downpour—can ruin our good mood.

Lately we’ve been talking a lot about toxins and the different ways they can harm you, as well as the benefits of essential oils. Today we thought we’d bring go back to the basics for a moment, because earlier this week we were cooking on the grill with one of our favorite items to use, a cast iron skillet, and that got us thinking about stuff.

Cooking on the grill, you ask? That’s right! The beauty of cast iron skillets is that they’re very versatile. You can cook on the stove top with them, make pizza and cakes in the oven, take them camping for use over an open flame, and yes…cook on the grill.

Though one of the ways they are absolutely not versatile is in the way you clean and maintain them, and that’s what we want to talk about today, because unbeknownst to some—you can’t just stick a cast iron skillet in a sink full of soapy dishwater and hope for the best.

So here is how we clean our cast iron skillet, and it’s the way you should be cleaning yours, too!

Step 1: Brand New Shine

If your skillet is brand new right out of the store, this is the only—and we mean ONLY—time you can wash it with mild soapy water. After you wash and dry it, it’s time to season it for the first time, even it it reads “pre-seasoned” on the label.

To do this, simply coat it inside and out in cooking oil, and place it in the oven at 350 for one hour. Turn off the oven, and let the skillet cool before removing. Wipe of the excess oil, and voila! It is now seasoned, which basically means you’re baking fat or oil into it to create a natural, non-stick coating.

Now you’re ready to cook!

Step 2: After the Meal

Now that you’ve cooked an awesome meal with your cast iron skillet, it’s time to clean it. You’re going o want to do this while it’s still hot, or at least while it’s warm. Do not soak the skillet in the sink, but rather wash it by using hot water and a sponge, or stiff brush. Stay clear of steel wool, as this will strip the skillet of its seasoning, and you’ll have to do that process sooner than expected.

Step 3: Stubborn Food

For food that’s being particularly stubborn, and won’t come off with just hot water and a brush, pour a bunch of kosher salt into the skillet and use hot water to make a paste. Put some elbow grease into it with your brush or sponge, and this should take care of those nasty bits.

Bonus Tip: If there’s still food that refuses to come off, it may be loosened by boiling some water in the skillet for a few minutes, then you can use your kosher salt paste to easily remove it.

Step 4: Dry

Now it’s time to dry your cast iron skillet, and there are two ways to do this. You can either a) dry it throughly with some paper towels, or b) dry it on a stovetop burner over low heat. You never want to let it air dry, because this will cause your skillet to rust, and that’s a big ol’ no-no.

Step 5: Coat

Once your cast iron skillet is clean and dry, take a paper towel or clean cloth, and apply a light coat of vegetable oil around the inside and out to keep it seasoned. Give it a good buff after that to remove any of the excess.

From there you can store it in a dry place at the ready to use the next time you need to cook a delicious meal.

If that seems like a lot of work for one skillet, trust us, it’s totally worth it. Food cooked in a cast iron skillet just tastes better. From steaks and fried chicken, to pizza and desserts, there’s virtually nothing it can’t cook.

Depending on how much you use it, you might have to re-season it as described in Step 1 from time to time. We like to do that about every six months just to keep it nice and coated, giving it a healthy non-stick shine.

That’s it for this week, folks. Have a fantastic weekend, and we’ll talk to you again on Monday!

5 DIY Uses for Sugar Other Than Eating

Well, another Monday is upon us and we hope you’re not feeling too down about that. Hopefully you had fun this past weekend and made lots of good memories to carry you through the week.

For some of us it was a weekend spent outdoors in the garden, tending to our crops and flowers, making sure everything is coming in nicely. The thing about gardening, though, is that while it can be very therapeutic and help take your mind off your troubles, it can also be extremely messy. Your clothes and hair get dirty from digging in the dirt, and your hands? Lordy, don’t even get us started on the hands. Dirt, mud, caked on grime. After a day spent in the garden they look like something from The Walking Dead, am I right?

Luckily we always have some DIY hand scrub available to take care of those nasty messes. It’s made with just two simple ingredients: sugar, and dish soap. Of course after rinsing our hands clean we got to thinking about some of the other ways we use sugar, which leads us to today, where we’re going to tell you 5 uses for sugar, other than eating.

1. Hand Scrub

As mentioned, this is our go-to recipe for creating a great sugar hand scrub that will take care of some of the nastiest messes. All you have to do is fill a jar 3/4 of the way full with sugar, and then add dish soap until the jar is full just below the mouth. Mix it all together, and add more sugar a little at a time until it turns into a paste consistency…and you’re done! You can even decorate the jars any way you wish and pass them out as gifts.

2. Body Scrub

This one takes the same principals as the hand scrub, only it can be applied to your entire body for exfoliating purposes. Not to mention it’s a lot cheaper than purchasing those expensive sugar scrubs you find on the market.

To make it, just combine sugar with coconut, almond, or olive oil until it forms a loose paste. For added effect, put in some drops of your favorite essential oil for a refreshing fragrance.

To use this wonderful scrub, just step into the shower and wet your skin and allow those pores to open up. Turn off the water or step out of the stream, and apply the scrub to your body just like you would your ordinary soap. Then, turn on the water or step back under the stream and rinse it all away.

3. Clean Your Grinder

We love freshly ground coffee in the morning, but the only drawback is that coffee beans contain natural oils that can build up over time in your grinder.

To clean your coffee grinder with sugar, just pour 1/4 cup of the white stuff into the machine, then let it run for a few minutes. The sugar will do all the work breaking down and cleaning out the excess oil that has built up, as well as scour it clean at the same time.

4. Cool Your Tongue

You know how you burn your mouth when you sip a drink that’s too hot, or eat something that hasn’t quite cooled yet because you’re so hungry you just can’t wait for it to simmer? Hey, we’ve all been there.

To relieve the sting caused by hot food or drink, try sucking on a little bit of sugar to bring you some comfort, or alternately suck on a sugar cube until it has completely dissolved.

5. Fresher Flowers

Whether they’re flowers cut from your own garden, or flowers your significant other has brought you just because they love you (or they’re trying desperately to apologize for something), using sugar can help prolong the life of those beauties.

Just add 3 teaspoons of sugar to one quart of water, and drop your flowers in the vase. The sugar will feed the stems, helping those roses, carnations, and peonies to thrive long after they’ve been separated from their natural habitat.

For an extra kick, pour in 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to help combat the growth of bacteria.

Pretty neat, right? Most of the time we think of sugar as something we use to take care of those sweet tooth cravings. Who knew it could be used for so much more than eating?

We hope you got some use out of those DIY tips, because there will be some more coming your way on Wednesday when we pass along some great combinations of essential oils that will help make your home smell amazing!

Until then…have a great start to your week, everyone.

4 Ways to Detox Your Home

Good Friday morning, Moppers! You’ve successfully made it through another week, and in jut a few short hours the work day will be done and you can kiss all that stress goodbye.

Speaking of stress, we were talking to someone this week who was completely stressed out about life, and they mentioned it was time for a cleanse. You know, one of those whole body cleanses where you flush all those toxins out of your body? They said it was great for helping to relieve stress, so that got us to thinking about how that relates to your home life.

More specifically: your home.

There’s a lot of talk about detoxing your body these days, and that’s awesome, but what about detoxing your home? We live in a time where we’re exposed to more toxins in our air, our water, and our food. All of that stuff has to linger behind in our homes, right?

You bet it does!

So with all that in mind we thought we’d leave you this week with four simple thing you can do to start detoxing your home right now.

1. Cut Out All That Plastic

There was a time when everyone was worried about BPA (Bisphenol-A) in their plastic containers, so manufacturers stopped using it and instead started using EAs (Estrogen Activity). What are EAs? They’re synthetic chemicals that damage our immune system, increase aggression, and create chaos with our hormones.

Instead of storing your leftovers in plastic containers, or sipping your water from plastic bottles, switch to glass or stainless steel bottles and storage containers. They’re a lot safer, and will greatly reduce the amount of toxins in your home, and your body.

2. Stop Using Air Fresheners

Whether they are plug-in fresheners, scented candle air fresheners, or those air fresheners that come in aerosol cans….just stop. You might think they’re making your house smell great, but what they’re really doing is releasing phthalates into the air, which are linked to poor semen quality, low testosterone levels, and abnormally developed male genitalia. Not only that, but many of them also contain petroleum gas, lighter fluid, and acetone—which is an ingredient used to make nail polish remover.

When you put it like that, using store bought products to freshen your air doesn’t sound so refreshing, does it?

Note: Next week we’ll be showing you a variety of ways to make your own air fresheners using essential oils, so stay tuned for that!

3. Eliminate Store Bought Laundry Detergent

Yes, yes, we know. Grabbing laundry detergent from the store is way easier than going through the trouble of making your own, but you know what? Look at this list:

Benzyl Acetate

Pentane

Alpha-Terpineol

Those are common ingredients found in regular laundry detergent that have been linked to cancer, depression, brain and nervous system disorders, nausea, fatigue, and more! Do you really want to wash your clothes in a solution that contains all those toxins? Of course you don’t.

Eliminate all those nasty chemicals from your home by taking the time to make your own laundry detergent. For an easy method on how to do that, check out this link!

4. Filter Your Tap Water

It’s no secret that tap water can contain a myriad of chemicals such as chlorine, lead, fluoride, hormones, and even prescription medications. The sad thing is not many people take action to do anything about it, and thus over time they end up developing any number of health problems and don’t even think that those issues could stem from simple drinking water.

Do yourself and your family a favor by filtering that drinking water, okay? Whether it’s with a filter you attach directly to your faucet, or one of those jugs you keep in the fridge, anything is better than nothing, and the sooner you start filtering, the sooner you can start eliminating those toxins from your body.

Those are all pretty easy, right? Unfortunately it’s often the easy things that are the hardest to do because we’ve been set in our ways for so long that any sort of change is scary.

Trust us, these are changes you’re going to want to make for the betterment of your home, and your life.

It’s not too late to get started. Start taking those little steps now to detox your home, and before you know it you’ll see your quality of life begin to improve, and from there the sky is the limit!

Have a safe and healthy weekend, everyone. We’ll talk to you again next week!

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