03 January 2012


I had two -not one, but TWO- boxes waiting for me when I got home today!  Nothing better than something sitting by your front door... unless it's one of the millions of phone books I seem to get.  Three already this year, good grief!  These are much better than an old phone book.  I already knew what was in them, but they were still fun to open.  One was a present from my parents, and the other was a present from... me!  What could be inside... hmm... maybe a whole fish, shipped overnight on ice from Italy?  Maybe a pair of those roller shoes that were trendy with kids a few years ago? You know, the ones that make you slip and break your back just by looking at them.  Or maybe just a giant bag of paillettes?

Let's look inside Box #1 first, on the right:

Coconut goodies! 

This is the gift I bought for myself - coconut soap.  I needed some new hand soap for the kitchen and bathroom; something that wouldn't dry out my hands like other soaps do.  This soap is made completely from coconut oil that has been saponified, and the lather is really impressive!  It's creamy and the unscented version that I got is pleasantly perfume-free, not with a slight odor that other non-perfumed things can have.  Tropical Traditions was having a Christmas special when I bought the soap.  If you spent more than $16, you got a 32 oz. jar of coconut oil for free!  That's pretty cool.  I use coconut oil all. the. time.  In the kitchen, on my hair, on my arms and legs and face and feet.  It's really versatile.

Well, what's in Box #2?  I'll give you a few hints: it's round, it's made of iron, and it weighs 14 pounds!  This present came from my parents.

It's a cast iron pan set!  The skillet has a slight lip all the way around the edge that fits into the top of the deeper pot so it can act as a lid.  Double trouble!  I have been wanting a cast iron pan for ages. I kept putting off buying one for myself because I wanted to find a used one in a thrift store. I figured a used pan would be cheaper.  Nope, I was wrong.  Every time I was in a thrift store, I would check, and either they would not have any at all, or the ones they did have cost just as much as a new one. These things are popular!  And for good reason.  With a little seasoning, they can outlast their owner.

Cast iron pans take some getting used to, but they are well worth it (these may become my all-time favorite pans).  You should only wash them in hot water (no soap), dry them immediately, and put a little oil on them before they go back into storage.  You can't shimmy them around on the stove top like your other pans because they are so heavy. 

On the plus side... who needs to lift weights when you've got these guys around?

02 January 2012

Winter sunset

Don't ask me why the trees only shed the top half of their branches.

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