Earthworm Living


Happy Pi Day!
March 14, 2013, 9:20 pm
Filed under: Cooking

Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day to everyone! I hope you had some pie! I did.

We cooked up a frozen berry pie we had on hand. ­čÖé A Marie Callenders Razzleberry Pie to be exact. None of the dairy and red dye #40 that my family can’t have. Good stuff!

Also, I find it surprising that my very nerdly husband had no clue what I meant when I started talking about Pi Day. He thought I meant it was a day to cook pie because I had a craving for pie.

Then, as I explained each part, it dawned on him so slowly that I could literally see the gears in his brain turning. LOL! Pi… 3.14 … March 14th … 3-14 … circles … pies … pies are circles … pie sound like Pi ….. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

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Cinnamon Roll Waffles
September 3, 2012, 10:10 am
Filed under: Cooking

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

While browsing the web randomly one day recently, I ran across the instructions for making cinnamon roll waffles. The original  post suggested that Grands cinnamon rolls be used so that they would fill up the whole waffle reservoir. Grands has dairy and since we are dairy-free in our house we use different refrigerator cinnamon rolls.

Our waffle maker is non-stick and hasn’t caused us problems with this recipe, but the original stressed using spray oil between rolls.

I made these this morning, and I must say “YUMMY!!”

I like to loosen up the cinnamon rolls spiral so that it has room to expand as it cooks. It takes very little time to cook them, possibly even less time than a waffle, and I find that we use less than half as much frosting when we do it this way. YUM!

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cinnamon roll waffles

cinnamon roll waffle



Adventures in Peeling Peaches
August 5, 2012, 10:35 pm
Filed under: canning, Cooking, u-pick

Adventures in Peeling Peaches

Last weekend and this weekend I went to a U-Pick orchard that’s nearby and picked a ton of peaches. Ok, not a ton, but it seems like it when I’m committed to preserving all of them before they spoil. Last weekend it was about 36 pounds of a white peach variety called Collins White. This weekend it was about 44 lbs of a yellow peach variety called Encore. 80 lbs of peaches! Just what exactly was I thinking!?!?

I have yet to fully determine why, but all peach canning recipes call for peeling the peaches. This goes against my sensibilities since I don’t peel raw peaches when I eat them and my mom always taught me that the most fiber and lots of nutrients was in the skin. Now my husband and I have had the great skin struggle for the last 17.5 years. He likes things peeled; I don’t. Back to the peeled peaches situation. All I have been able to determine is that maybe the skins will make your canned peaches taste bitter, but I’m not even certain this is the real reason for peeling peaches before canning. Nonetheless, I’m peeling these peaches and trying to act like the husband didn’t win the great skin debate…after all, I’m just following a recipe as opposed to doing what he wanted. LOL!

The instructions for easily peeling peaches is all over the place. Cookbooks, canning recipes, the internet, etc. It sounds like a breeze on paper. ON PAPER! It has a definite learning curve. I thought it would be a breeze. After 2 full weekends of working on it, I am starting to get a system.

How to peel a peach (traditional instructions):
Drop peach into boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Immediately move it to ice water. Slip peel off.

Sounds easy right?!?!

Eh, I found there was more to it than just that. When it says boiling water they mean a rolling boil. Not a simmer. Not an almost rolling boil. Make sure the WHOLE peach is covered with water. If a little edge is exposed the skin won’t slip off and you will be using a knife for that spot. When they say ice water they don’t mean cold water. It needs to be serious ice water and changed out after every couple of peaches so it stays ice cold. Finally, the peach shouldn’t stay in the ice water until it’s cooled off. It needs to be in there maybe 5 seconds so it’s just cool enough to touch. If you do all these things the right way the skin might even slip off while you’re trying to pick it up out of the ice water. Otherwise, you’re going to be cutting off a lot of skin and losing a lot of flesh in the process.

One extra thing I am doing is cutting the peach in half before I slip the skin off. Having skin on it still makes it easier to grip when cutting. I was having the hardest time cutting them once they were skinless and slippery.

Enjoy your skinless/peeled peaches!



Homemade Peach Fried Pies
July 26, 2012, 9:20 pm
Filed under: Cooking, u-pick

Homemade Peach Fried Pies

I know that fried pies are not the most healthy of foods, but I had a craving and needed it quenched! I started with this recipe on allrecipes http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Apricot-and-Peach-Fried-Pies/

A screenshot of the recipe:

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I really only used the part of the recipe that tells how to make the crust and then used pie filling for the insides. One batch I used canned pie filling and another batch I used a homemade concoction of freshly picked peaches from our local u-pick orchard. They both turned out great, but try finding canned pie filling that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors in it. It’s quite hard!

Of course, it wouldn’t be one of my concoctions if I didn’t go fiddling with the ingredients. So the shortening used was the trans-fat free organic version from Spectrum. Then since my family has so many lactose intolerant people we subbed Rice Dream Organic rice milk, original flavor, for the cow’s milk. It tasted normal and not weird like some might worry. LOL!

I rolled out the dough into circles using a homemade french rolling pin. Placed a blob of peach filling in the middle and closed it over. My preference was to leave the bottom crust hanging past the top crust so that the bottom could be wrapped up around the top edge and crimped. this seemed to keep the filling inside better.

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Then it’s time to cook them. I used canola oil (since it has a fairly high smoke temp to keep the carcinogens at bay) in my iron skillet. I’ll point out that it isn’t deep fried completely submersed in oil. It only takes a layer on the bottom. Probably no more than 1/4 inch of oil. It may take some trial and error to get the right temperature.

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When they’re nicely golden brown and you feel they look yummy, take them out and place them on a plate with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

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Once they’ve cooled enough to not burn your mouth with the pie filling they’re ready to eat! YUM!

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Easy Orange Pomanders
December 4, 2011, 1:52 pm
Filed under: Cooking, Crafts

Easy Orange Pomanders

One of the things I really love about the holiday season is the smell of orange pomanders, cider, and spiced tea.

Orange pomanders are so easy to make that I usually let the kids make them each winter and do it without much guidance.

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First you need an orange (we usually use a clementine aka cutie) and whole cloves. Then you push the cloves into the skin of the orange until only the clove head (the ball part) is still sticking out. You space them out fairly evenly, I usually put them a half inch apart from their neighbors.

Once all of the cloves are in it’s ready to be baked slowly on a really low temp. Essentially you’re dehydrating it and making a lot of good smell in the process. I typically use around 200 degrees for dehydrating it, but be careful to not leave it in there and then preheat the oven at 400 for dinner. Burned oranges smell terrible!



Twisty Herbed Breadsticks
November 20, 2010, 5:33 pm
Filed under: Cooking

Twisty Herbed Breadsticks

I get this great magazine called Family Fun. It’s full of so many cute little projects and delicious recipes. The most recent copy had this recipe for bread dough and included 3 things you could do with the dough. One of the suggestions was to use the dough to create twisted herbed breadsticks. Here’s their instructions if you have time to make the dough and want to try. http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/herb-breadsticks-940408/┬á

It looked yummy, but I didn’t really have the luxury of time to be able to make the dough. So I took the recipe as inspiration and put my own twist on it. I already┬áhad some refridgerated pizza crust dough on hand. You know, the kind in a tube. The version I used was a thin crust variety. I rolled it out onto a cookie sheet and brushed it with extra virgin olive oil.

Brush Extra Virgin Olive Oil on Refridgerated Pizza Dough

Then I used an Italian Herb grinder and a Sea Salt grinder to season the dough.



Collecting Cast Iron Cookware
September 6, 2010, 7:58 pm
Filed under: Cooking, cookware

Collecting Cast Iron Cookware

I just love cast iron cookware. I have a ton of it. It’s possible that I could have an addiction. LOL! I’ve been collecting it ever since I moved out of my parents house in college and needed to stock my own kitchen. My go to items were cast iron and corningware. I would say that all of my cast iron is the Lodge brand and none of it was pre-seasoned because that gives me the willies. (I’ve done my research and know what methods many companies use to “pre-season” cast iron.)

So I thought I’d show off my beloved cast iron collection. This is most but not all of it. Some things were either dirty or buried deep in a cabinet when I took this picture, but it’s at least 90% of the collection.

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Also, it’s maybe worth noting that most of this collection was bought between 1995-1997, has been used a ton, and hasn’t shown any signs of wear yet. Knock wood! Lodge makes a good product!




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