HOW TO SEASON CAST IRON IN 4 SIMPLE STEPS

Last year I said good-bye to my Teflon Non-Stick (which had become highly sticking with the silver lines running in every direction) pans and purchased Cast Iron skillet from LODGE. There are a lot of companies out now which make beautiful cast iron cookware but they are EXPENSIVE!!!

My main reasons to buy Lodge products was that firstly they are economical and secondly the quality is amazing. I have had their double play griddle/grill for over three years now and it still works great.

If you cook with cast iron you must have come across this scenario….RUST!

Does that mean you cannot use your cookware anymore.

Breathe…..

All is well.

With a few simple steps your skillet/pot/griddle will be as good as new.

You can also use this process when you buy a new cast iron which is not seasoned or if you get a hand me down from your grand mother and you want it to shine like it did when you were young.

Now let’s get to work.

 

You will need:

  • Scrub Brush (I love this Scrub Brush )

  • Vegetable/ Non-GMO Canola Oil

  • Salt

Procedure:

  • Wash the skillet using a gentle dish soap. Use a scrub brush for extra cleaning. Dry promptly using a paper towel.

how to remove rust from cast iron
Wash using a gentle soap

  • Add two tablespoons of salt and scrub with a paper towel. (Do this step only if there is food stuck on the skillet).

How to remove rust from cast iron
Rub with Salt

  • Rub with a light layer of oil.

how to remove rust from cast iron
Add vegetable oil

How to remove rust from cast iron
Rub with Oil

  • Bake it in the oven at 400F/200C for 1 hour.

How to remove rust from cast iron
Bake the Skillet in the Oven

There you go……

Simple right?

Now your cast iron is as good as new. Store in a dry place. Make sure to dry it promptly if you wash it. Hopefully with these simple steps taking care of cast iron will be a breeze and your skillet will enter the list of your family heirlooms.

 

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Must Have Essential Oils

In my last post I talked in detail about everything you need to know about essential oils so hopefully by now you have an idea what essential oils are and how to use them.  With so much information and so many oils out there, one can easily get overwhelmed when deciding which oils to buy.

Here are the my must have essential oils. Start with Lavender, Peppermint and Lemon and slowly add the rest.

 

 

LAVENDER OIL

LAVENDER

LATIN NAME:  Lavandula Angustifolia

AROMA: Floral, Sweet

QUALITIES: Calms and relaxes, Reduces Anxiety and Stress, Headache Reliever, Promotes Sleep, Slows Aging

peppermint oil

PEPPERMINT

LATIN NAME: Mentha Piperita

AROMA: Fresh, Minty, Herbaceous

QUALITIES: Decreases Indigestion & Nausea, Freshens Breath,  Clears Respiratory Passages, Enhances Alertness, Soothes tight muscles, Relieves Headaches

 

 

EUCALYPTUS ESSENTIAL OILEUCALYPTUS

LATIN NAME: Eucalyptus Globulus

AROMA: Camphoraceous, Woody

QUALITIES: Treats Respiratory Problems, Helps in Sinusitis, Lessens Muscle & Joint pain, Stimulates Mental Focus, Air Cleaner, Odor Remover

 

 

TEA TREE ESSENTIAL OILTEA TREE

LATIN NAME: Melaleuca Alternifolia

AROMA: Warm, Green, Herbaceous

QUALITIES: Antifungal, Antiseptic, Heals Wounds, Purifies Air, Cleanses Home Surfaces, Insect Repellent, Odor Remover, Treats Eczema

 

 

cedarwood essential oil

CEDARWOOD

LATIN NAME: Cedrus Atlantica

AROMA: Warm, Woody

QUALITIES: Grounds, Relaxes, Soothes, Clarifies Mind, Prevents Hair loss, Odor Remover,  Improves Focus, Insect Repellent

 

 

LEMON ESSENTIAL OILLEMON

LATIN NAME: Citrus Limon

AROMA: Citrus, Fresh

QUALITIES: Cleaning Agent for home which also purifies the air, Refreshes mind and body, Cheers up, Promotes good oral hygiene,  Supports Healthy Immune System, Improves Mood, Whitens Teeth, Helps in losing body fat

 

 

CHAMOMILE ESSENTIAL OILCHAMOMILE

LATIN NAME: Chamaemelum nobile

AROMA: Fresh, Sweet, Fruity,

QUALITIES: Relieves stress, Promotes Sleep, Headache Reliever, Relieves Muscle Spasms, Fights Depression

 

 

ROSE ESSENTIAL OIL

ROSE

LATIN NAME: Rosa Damascena

AROMA: Warm, Green, Herbaceous

QUALITIES: Astringent, Clears Skin, Freshens Mood, Brings Joy, Antidepressant, Aphrodisiac, Balances Hormones

 

 

SANDALWOOD ESSENTIAL OIL

SANDALWOOD

LATIN NAME: Santalum Album

AROMA: Warm, Woody, Rich

QUALITIES: Clears Skin, Soothes, Calms, Promotes Mental Clarity,  Aphrodisiac, Anti Bacterial , Anti Fungal, Brings Shine to Hair, Balances Emotions

 

 

JASMINE ESSENTIAL OILJASMINE

LATIN NAME: Jasminum Sambac

AROMA: Fresh, Deeply Floral

QUALITIES: Soothing, Calming, Refreshing, Promotes Romance, Elevates Mood, Helps with post pregnancy symptoms like anxiety and muscle pain, Aphrodisiac, Fights Blemishes and Clears Skin.

CLOVE ESSENTIAL OIL

CLOVE

LATIN NAME: Eugenia Caryophyllata

AROMA: Warm, Spicy, Leathery

QUALITIES: Reduces Gum Disease & Toothache, Clears Acne, Kills Candida, Reduces PMS, Boosts Energy

 

GRAPEFRUIT ESSENTIAL OILGRAPEFRUIT

LATIN NAME: Citrus Paradisi

AROMA: Citrus, Fresh, Fruity

QUALITIES:  Cleanses body and helps in weight loss, Reduces Depression, Improves Focus, Freshens Air, Relieves Brain Fog, Decreases Fluid Retention

 

FRANKINCENSE ESSENTIAL OILFRANKINCENSE

LATIN NAME: Boswellia

AROMA: Warm, Spicy

QUALITIES: Promotes Peace and relaxation, Stress Reliever, Wrinkle Fighter, Boosts Immune System, Kills harmful cells, Sleep Aid, Removes scars

GERANIUM ESSENTIAL OIL

GERANIUM

LATIN NAME: Pelargonium graveolens

AROMA: Herbaceous, Floral

QUALITIES: Beautifies skin, Improves Complexion  Brings Shine to hair, Eases Tension & Relieves stress, Tones muscles, Wound Healer, Odor Remover, Improves Mental Clarity, Anti Inflammatory, Bug Repellent

 

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“BYE BYE SMELL” Spray

When I first saw the Poo Pourri spray last year at my local health store I laughed. First the idea seemed very funny to me and secondly I thought to myself how can it be better than a regular air freshener. Boy I was wrong. It works like magic.

If your bathroom has a window or any kind of vent, consider yourself very lucky. It is not uncommon in America to have bathrooms with no windows. Unfortunately same is the case in our home. The bathrooms have no windows and sometimes you need a lot of air freshener to get the poo stench out as there is no outlet. Yes, there are bath ventilation fans but they don’t work that well.

After trying a lot of recipes from various websites and making some tweaks here and there I was able to make one which works like wonders. (Tried & Tested!!). It worked so well that I have a separate one for each bathroom. The bottle is so small that you can take it with you where ever you go. A good idea for your office bathroom too. Also it only costs pennies compared to the original Poo Pourri Spray.

Here is what you will need:

  • Glass Spray Bottle
  • Vegetable Glycerin  (For that oily film)
  • Rubbing Alcohol (To help the oils and water emulsify)
  • Essential Oils ( For the lovely smell)
  • Distilled Water
  • Food Color  (I would recommend using blue color)

Recipe 1:

  • 3 1/2 tbsp  Glycerin
  • 2 1/2 tbsp  Rubbing Alcohol
  • 20 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 20 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil
  • 15 drops food color
  • 1/2 cup water

 

Recipe 2:

  • 3 1/2 tbsp Glycerin
  • 2 1/2 tbsp  Rubbing Alcohol
  • 15 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil
  • 15 drops Bergamot Essential Oil
  • 15 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil
  • 15 drops food color
  • 1/2 cup water

 

 

Mix all the ingredients and using a funnel pour into the glass bottles. This recipes makes 4- 2oz or 2- 4oz bottles. To use, simply shake the bottle a few times (to help the oils and water combine) and spray  to cover the toilet bowl water before going No.2. The food coloring will help you see whether you have covered well or not.

The science behind it is that when you spray, an oily scented barrier is formed over the toilet bowl which helps trap the unpleasant odors underneath and there are no lingering smells.

 

Things needed to make spray
Ingredients for Bye Bye Smell Spray

 

 

bye-bye-smell
Use Dark Glass Bottle to store the spray

 

This is how it will look
This is how the spray looks in action

 

 

Now its your turn. Make it, use it and let me know if it worked or not.

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” BUILD YOU OWN BURGER” Party Ideas

Recently I had a get together at my place and instead of the usual Pakistani Cuisine I setup a “Build Your Own Burger” bar.Both the adults and the kids loved it. The burgers were flavorful and juicy and the sides complimented them. I prepared most of the things a day before, so on the day of the party it was mostly assembling and grilling.

THE MENU:

  • Chicken Burger
  • Beef Burger
  • Hot Dogs
  • Coleslaw
  • Macaroni Salad
  • Corn
  • Ice Cream

If you want to host a similar party keep on reading below on how I did it:

 

THE DAY BEFORE:

  • BEEF:  Mix Beef with black pepper, gochu garu, soy sauce/worcestershire sauce, oil and chopped onions (try to squeeze as much water from the onion as possible). Mix using the kitchenaid or any other food processor with the plastic blade to get the fibers to bind together. Do not use the steel blade or it will be super hard to manage the patties. Cover it and put it in the refrigerator.
  • CHICKEN: Mix ground chicken with salt, chilli powder, gochu garu, cumin powder, coriander powder, garlic powder, dried pomegranate powder, dried fenugreek leaves, garam masala powder, chopped fresh cilantro, chopped onion, chopped green onion, oil. Mix it using the food processor, cover and put in the refrigerator.
  • COLESLAW: Shred cabbage and carrots. Make the salad dressing (mayo, sugar, vinegar, salt & pepper)
  • MACARONI SALAD: Chop the veggies, make the dressing (mayo, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt & pepper)

 

THE BIG DAY:

  • Make the coleslaw by mixing the dressing with shredded cabbage and carrots.
  • Make the macaroni salad by mixing the dressing with elbow macaroni and veggies (chopped bell pepper, carrots, celery, serrano chilli, green onion).
  • I did not use any fillers and initially weighed the patties to make sure that each was the same size to ensure proper cooking. I did it a few times till I got an idea and then eye balled the rest.
  • Make sure to do a taste test before starting to form the patties.
  • I added the salt just before making the beef patties to keep it juicy. Adding onions make it super moist so do not omit this step. (An amazing tip from my awesome friend)
  • Hot Dogs were store-bought and I just grilled them.
  • I used my lodge cast iron stove top grill and it did a wonderful job.
  • I grilled the corn and smeared it with garlic butter which gave it a rich taste.

 

ITEMS ON THE BURGER BAR:

  • Buns
  • Cheese
  • Slice onion
  • Slice Tomato
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Pickles
  • Mayonnaise
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Franks Hot Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce

 

Coleslaw
Coleslaw
Macaroni Salad
Macaroni Salad
Beef Burger on the Grill
Beef Burger on the Grill
Burger Bar-4
Burger Bar-1
Burger Bar-3
Burger Bar-2
Burger Bar-2
Burger Bar-3
Burger Bar-1
Burger Bar-4

 

TIPS:

  • Do no use extra lean beef or else you will end up with hard, dry patties.  Use 80/20 which basically means 80% lean and 20% fat.
  • Do not make more than 4 patties from 1lb of meat.
  • Make sure to make a thumb imprint in your burgers which will prevent it from bulging in the center.
  • I used ground chicken breast and the patties were juicy.
  • Place patties on the hottest part of the grill, let it sear. Do not try to move it. When the time is right, it will lift easily and once you see the char marks, move it to the cooler part and continue cooking.
  • If you have time, butter the buns and warm them.
  • Try to keep a variety of condiments and cheese as they add more flavor to the burgers
  • If you are going with the “Build your own” theme, keep the dessert the same way. I setup an ice cream bar with waffle cones, icecream and toppings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BEST HAIR MASK FOR DANDRUFF

Don’t you hate it when you look in the mirror and first thing you notice is the white snowfall on your hair. The snowfall or dandruff as it is called is really bothersome. Sometimes it is also accompanied with an itchy scalp. Wearing dark colors seems out of question.

According to Livestrong its more common in people with oily skin than those who have a dry skin. Generally dandruff  happens when you follow a poor diet or are mineral deficient.

Just because your favorite celebrity endorses a certain hair product doesn’t mean it will suit you too. Be smart and find the right products for your hair type or you will end up with a lot of buildup in your hair which in turn will lead to hair problems including dandruff.

There are two amazing hair masks which will help you get rid of the dandruff and get your confidence back.

Dandruff Mask 1:  Fenugreek Seeds, Lemon

 

fenugreek-seeds lemon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finely grind the fenugreek seeds. Take 2 tbsp of the powder and add enough freshly squeezed lemon juice to make a paste. Apply it your hair concentrating on the roots. Wrap a cloth around your hair and leave it for a 1 hour. Then uncover and wrap a hot towel for 10 minutes. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo and wash your hair.

Do this alteast 3 times a week till the dandruff goes away.

 

Dandruff Mask 2: Neem Leaves Powder, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Dandruff Hair Mask Ingredients for Dandruff hair mask

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix 2 tbs of neem powder with enough apple cider vinegar to make a thick paste. Apply it to the hair concentrating on the roots. Massage your hair and tie it in a bun. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes. Add tea tree oil to the shampoo and wash as usual.

Try to do this atleast 2 times a week till the dandruff goes away.

 

(See a dermatologist if the dandruff becomes severe or itching becomes unbearable).

 

 

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