I’m excited for another edition of Simple Lives Thursday.  Below you’ll find the linky to add your post to.  Remember you can add your link on any of the four hosting blogs.
As a reminder:  If you are going to be linking to this blog hop, please add a link to this post at the end of your blog post entry.
Your Hosts
  1. A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
  2. Sustainable Eats
  4. Culinary Bliss
Wherever you choose to post, it will show up on all 4 sites!  As a reminder, this blog hop is a way to share with many people your posts on what you are doing to live a simple life. Whether that’s gardening, raising urban chickens, homeschooling, sewing, making your own deodorant, or cleaning supplies… we want to know about it!  If you’re into homeopathy, ways to save $ by conserving energy or other ways to live frugally… we want to know about it!   If you bike, cook real food, homestead or farm… we want to know about it!
So let’s do this thing!

I am so excited!  Next May, I will be leading a culinary tour through Andalucia, Spain!   I am collaborating with Epicurean Ways in order to set up a fabulous 6 day culinary adventure through the heart and soul of Spanish culture and cuisine.
We are still in the very beginning stages of setting up this tour.  As more info comes to fruition I will be posting regular updates.  There will be a cooking class, an olive oil, wine and jamon iberico tour.  I will also be guiding you to local places of interest.  Places like the farmers market, fisherman’s dock and the best in local Spanish bars for tapitas and cervecita!  Since I’m from Spain and visit frequently I will be guiding you to the best places that locals visit!  Sardines by the Rio?  Why of course!

I invite you to join me in An Intimate Tour of Spain!  If you are interested please comment with an email address or email me at  I will be setting up a special email list specifically for this tour.

I hope to see you in España!

It’s the season for green beans!  As sad as I was that I didn’t plant any beans in early summer I was blessed to have been given the opportunity to harvest 7 pounds of fresh green beans right off the plant from a friend.  So what does one do with so many green beans?  I blanched and froze about 5.5 pounds and made a few recipes to share with you in the coming week.  One is a ferment that I’m hoping tastes great!

During the summer when I’m busy outdoors I try to spend as little amount of time as possible in the kitchen.  A great way to use seasonal green beans is to roast them right along side potatoes and red onions.  Throw in a couple of scrambled eggs from the backyard and there you have a nourishing and easy summer meal.

Roasted Garlic Potatoes with Green Beans and Red Onions


  • 4-5 medium potatoes, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb of fresh green beans
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tsp celtic sea salt
  • a variety of fresh herbs (I used thyme and tarragon)


  1. In an ovenproof dish combine all ingredients.
  2. bake at 425 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes.

Easy!  Buen Provecho!

It’s Two for Tuesdays!  I’m sure many of you already know and participate but for those of you who haven’t you can click here for the details.

As a reminder

  1. Create a post featuring real food… something traditional, made from scratch, made with love.

  2. Include the badge or a link to this page in your post  (you don’t have to use my badge, you could also go to either of the other 6 hosts pages and include their badge/link).


  3. Go to any of the 7 hosting blogs on a Tuesday and add a link to your post (post specific URL, not your home page URL).  Leave a comment once you’ve linked up so that we’re sure to see your entry.  Your entry (in thumbnail form) will then appear on all seven blogs!  The linky for each particular week will stay open until the following Tuesday, so if you’re running a bit behind, no worries!  You can link up later.
  4. Have fun!  You don’t have to link up every week and we don’t mind you sharing the same post on other carnivals or hops :)

Let the fun begin!  Link up those posts :D

Your Hosts:

Sweet Potato Bean


Chicken and Cheese

Twice Baked

Feel the Bees Sting – Habanero

My Iron Skillet Love Affair @

Pineapple Cooler–Made from
Pineapple Rind! at Kahakai Kitchen

butter milk &



A Moderate Life Roasted Corn in

Beth Stedman (Salad

Raspberry Ice Cream

Real Food on a

Hot Fudge Ice Cream


Blue GF



Buttermilk n Fruit Popsicles @

Spain in Iowa – Wholesome
banana split sweetened with raw honey.

2 Fresh Tomato Sauce Recipes
for You! Yummy!

Healthy Sloppy Joes And A
Review By Ashley

Black Bean & Edamame Salad
with Miso-Tahini Dressing

Diary of an Outlaw Farmer:
Rabbit in Mustard Wine Cream Sauce


Brown Sugar Vanilla Bean Ice

Crunchy Fried Fish with
Remoulade and Creamy Cole Slaw

Coupons for Real Food? @ Big
Dreams for a Simple Life

Vegetable Lentil Savoury

Julie @ Persnickety Palate
(pea gnocchi and fried carrots)

Another (Goat) Kid and
Sourdough Biscuits

Jason @ JLHealthTulsa (GF 5*
Fillet of Sole Almondine)

Luscious Lemons for a Cool
Drink and a Chicken Salad!

Balsamic Roasted Red

Classic Hollandaise

Get your soft pretzels

Blueberry Jelly – Dina at Known
By Name

Simple Shallot

Wheat Berry

A soup from our

Thrifting Sheets for Sewing
Play Clothes

This linky list is now closed.

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I am so excited to have Miranda from My Food and Life Encounters guest post for me.  I heard through the grapevine that she was in the midst of creating a post on cast iron.  One of my favorite subjects!  I love my cast iron and could not imagine cooking without it.  I immediately asked her if she wouldn’t mind guest posting at my blog.  I would love for all my readers to not only learn a bit more about cast iron but to introduce you to this wonderful mother of two.  Miranda is such a fun person that has a joy for life, her children, and especially her husband.  You can feel the admiration she has for him through every one of her posts and it’s this joy that reminds me what a gift the Lord has given us in a husband.  She’s a beautiful reminder of what it is to love and stand by your man and how to be an amazing mommy.   Also, this woman is not afraid to cook!  There is always something yummy going on at My Food and Life Encounters.  Thank you Miranda for sharing at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa.


This will be my first guest post and I am thrilled it is for Diana. She is the ultimate mother, foodie and friend whom inspires me to grow as a food blogger and person.

I am a foodie, a food blogger, wife and a mother. I am a Stay at Home Mommy for two little amazing girls. I have been cooking for years which is a passion my mother has passed down to me. I have been food blogging at My Food and Life Encounters for a year and half. Yahoo! I love my life!

Oh…Enough about me thats talk about the Cast Iron Skillet…..

The Lodge Cast Iron Skillet was founded by Joseph Lodge in 1896.  Over a hundred and fourteen years ago!  Do you want to know what is even more amazing?  It is still a family run business.  Not only that but the Cast Iron Pans made generations ago are still being used in kitchens today.  They are timeless!

Although I was always afraid to purchase one, I am now an owner of a cast iron skillet.  Not just any cast iron skillet a US made Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.

Why so reserved you may ask?  As I encountered the cuisine of Southern womanhood, each discussion about their secret weapon was intimidating. This was a club no Ohio River Valley Girl should attempt to join.  Besides, their wares had decades of uses to get that “unique” flavor.  Seasoning?  I HAD NO IDEA what a seasoned pan meant.  I thought seasoning meant a little bit of salt and pepper on the pan and assumed it was really difficult to take care of and maintain?

Don’t tell the daughter of a Pipe fitter, raised in the rust belt, that this piece of metal was out of my league.  I have since learned a lot from my Lodge Cast Iron.  Again, this is my experience so please consult Auntie Lou Ann in case I missed something.

  1. Cast iron is naturally non-stick.  But if food begins to stick in a cast iron pan it may need seasoned.

    I have learned that seasoning is a way of maintaining the pan. To season a pan you lightly oil the pan with a neutral oil (that is high in saturated fats) on the entire inside of the pan and flip and put it in the middle of the oven. Put a foil lined baking pan below on the last oven shelf. Bake on 500 for thirty to sixty minutes. Remove. Repeat if needed.

    If a pan is not seasoned correctly food will stick and it will be prone to rusting.

    Seasoning correctly causes the oil to become permeated into the pores of a cast iron skillet. It causes a tough and hard film in the pan. This is the BIG secret of maintain a non-stick and an amazing cast iron-skillet.

  2. If seasoned correctly nothing will stick to your cast iron pan.
  3. Cast Iron pans last a lifetime. Many lifetimes. Pass them down to your kids…….
  4. The Cast Iron Pan heats and cooks all food evenly!


  1. You should not wash it in the dishwasher or like other pans. Cast iron needs to be wiped clean without soap.  No harsh brushes or sponges.  If you have a lot of residue that is hard to remove, boiling water should do the trick.
  2. You should not cook foods containing tomatoes, vinegar or other acidic ingredients. This will damage the seasoning that you have worked so hard to create. The best foods to cook in cast iron is high fatty foods. Such as: Bacon, Sausage, Chicken, Beef and Pork.
  3. Never try to cook on a cold pan. ALWAYS PREHEAT!

I love my Lodge Cast Iron Pan. I am not sure how I lived so long without one. In the last month I have made: Chicken Fried Steak, Oven Fried Chicken, and Apple Dutch Pancakes. It is a must have in all kitchens!

Did I do OK Auntie? Now how’s about sharing that that fried mac n’ cheese recipe

Thank you, Diana for the opportunity!


I am so proud of these pancakes.  As crazy as it may seem, these pancakes were the result of a weeks worth of care and attention.  WHAT?!  I know, right?!  Sounds crazy, but yes… it’s true.  I finally dived into sourdough!  If you haven’t had a chance, I encourage you to check out GNOWFGLINS e-course on sourdough.  I am HOOKED!  Since moving into the world of traditional cooking of course one begins to hear about sourdough.

So what is sourdough?

A sourdough culture is a natural leaven (yeast) and lactobacillus bacteria living in a mixture of flour and water.  It’s inhabited by so-called “wild” yeasts and bacteria which leaven (rise) and give it it’s recognizable tangy and sour taste.  It’s the way our ancestors made bread.  From the time before Jesus Christ to today.  The beauty of a sourdough starter is that if fed flour and water on a continuous basis, the culture can last indefinitely allowing you to use it time and time again for many different recipes.

On July 13th, I started my first sourdough starter according to the video provided by the GNOWFGLINS e-course.  After feeding it twice, I was amazed by the rise of my starter.  It was alive and thriving filled with bubbles.  I was excited!  In order to feed a starter and encourage it to grow in strength you are to feed it twice a day for three weeks.  Once in the morning and once in the evening by throwing half of what is there away and then giving it a quarter cup of water and 3/8 cup of whole wheat flour.  After the second day, my starter kind of fizzled out!  I was so sad but did see a few bubbles so I did my routine of getting rid of half and feeding it a quarter cup of water and 3/8 cup of whole wheat flour.  After 12 hours had passed, still… no rise.  Just a few bubbles.  I hopped onto the GNOWFGLINS e-course forum (thank you Jesus for the forum!)  and asked away.  Wardeh responded soon to skip a feeding and if I saw some bubbles that it should be okay.  I ended up skipping an entire day of feeding and low and behold the next day it had risen!  Praise the Lord!  Thank you Jesus!

I was so excited I again hopped onto the forum and thanked everyone!   After that I realized that the culture was pretty strong and I continued to feed it twice a day until the 7th day.  Here is a picture of my starter after the 7th day.

It had risen to the top and after a couple of hours sort of slumped down, but it was ALIVE!
All right, so 7 days had passed, now what?!  Bless Wardeh and Erin’s soul because they had a video provided that was called, Now What?  I was laughing but so thrilled to watch it!  They suggested to continue this routine for 3 weeks in order to strengthen it, however, after the 7th day if we were feeling comfortable we could use it for a recipe and they had suggested to start with pancakes.  YUM!  That was for me!

I took off to find Erin’s Oh So Fluffy Sourdough Pancakes recipe on the GNOWFGLINS website.  The ingredients were very similar to what I use for my homemade pancakes.  Once I saw this, I went for it!

So that evening, I emptied the contents of my sourdough starter to a large bowl and added 1 cup of filtered water and one cup of whole wheat flour.  The next day it had definitely risen.

I knew I had to keep some of this culture to continue with my starter.  After saving about half a cup, I only had about a cup and a quarter left of starter to work with.  The recipe called for 2 cups.  I put my thinking cap on and thought, “well… I only use one cup of batter for my homemade pancakes recipe, so this surely should be enough for me and the boys.”  I was pleased that it was and ECSTATIC that they turned out so deliciously moist and fluffy :)  I can’t wait to see what the GNOWFGLINS e-course brings us next week!

Sourdough pancakes


  • 1 1/4 cups sourdough starter (fed the night before)
  • 2 tbls melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbls rapadura sugar (or honey)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbls water
  • blueberries


  1. In a bowl, mix the starter, butter, egg, sweetener and vanilla extract.
  2. In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt a tsp or so of butter.
  3. In a small bowl, mix 1 tbls of water and 1 tsp of baking soda.
  4. Pour the baking soda mixture into the pancake batter and quickly stir to incorporate.
  5. Pour a ladle full of batter into the skillet and top with blueberries.
  6. When the pancake has begun to bubble and the edges start to dry, flip.
  7. Heat for an additional 2 – 3 minutes.
  8. Serve with fruit and warm real maple syrup.

My heart goes out to Wardeh and Erin for the tremendous amount of work they have done to provide us with this amazing e-course.  You can join in at any time and pay what you can.  What a blessing indeed!  Thank you Wardeh, Thank you Erin!

This post is a part of Simple Lives Thursday.