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Story Time: Love in a casserole dish

By Lorry Myers:

When I married my husband, I moved from my parent’s house into a rented old farmhouse down a dusty gravel road. I’d never lived on my own; I didn’t have my own furniture, or my own vehicle and most certainly I didn’t own anything to fix a meal.

Lorry Myers

No saucepans, no skillets and no skills to go with them.

Growing up, one of my responsibilities was to start supper so when my mother walked in from work; we could eat sooner rather than later. It was never anything fancy, fried pork chops, hamburgers or something in a casserole dish. I cooked without caring what the end result would be because I knew my mother would be home in time to save the day.

Or rather, save the meal.

The first day home from our honeymoon, we spent unpacking wedding gifts. Shiny pots and pans and cooking utensils quickly filled the one lone kitchen cabinet in our new old farmhouse. There were fancy tools and clever gadgets that I had no clue what to do with. Still, I somewhat knew my way around a kitchen and somehow managed to convince my husband that I could cook, even though I’d never had my own kitchen to prove it.

Until now.

I chose to make a meatloaf for our first dinner, simply because I had a new casserole dish and could probably, maybe, surely make a meatloaf without a written recipe.

How hard could it be?

I’d made meatloaf before following my mother’s instructions so this wouldn’t be my first try. I threw together everything I thought was needed, squished it together with my hands, patted it evenly into my new dish and set the temperature of the ancient oven.

The house promptly filled with smoke.

After assuring my new husband that I wasn’t burning down our old house, I cleared the smoke and slipped that casserole dish into the wonky oven. After 30 minutes, the meatloaf was just sitting there looking bored and uninterested. An hour later, I pulled it out and decided that nothing baking in that dish resembled meatloaf and that started me worrying. What would happen when Randy realized the woman he married had no cooking skills?

For the complete article, please see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.

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Video: Madonna treats her face to a birthday makeover by Tarin Graham

How does Madonna keep her skin so fresh, even on her 60th birthday? This video from her esthetician, Tarin Graham, may offer some clues.

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The Kitchen Gear Our Staff Can’t Cook Without

Among the Gear Patrol staff, you’ll find experts across a wide range of stuffhiking boots, regular boots, knives, cheap 4k TVs, cold brew coffee, adventure motorcycles, gym sneakers and so on.

What you won’t find, however, are a great many people who know their way around the béarnaise technique. We’re not chefs — though most of us do cook regularly. But you don’t need to understand an inexplicably difficult French sauce to have opinions in the kitchen. From cast-iron skillets to Japanese knives, this is the cooking gear we couldn’t live without.

Gela SC-0282-GW Herb Scissors

“My first reaction to these Gela Herb scissors was, ‘Why would anyone need a separate pair of shears just for their herbs?’ I already own a set of knives — self-sharpening, I might add — and always used them to chop up parsley, basil and whatever else a recipe called for with fine results. Then I started using this five-bladed beauty and realized what a time-saving genius it is. First of all, the scissors can go in the dishwasher, meaning I don’t have to take any time to handwash them. They also come with a cleaning comb, so I can be sure to flick out any remaining bits of chives or cilantro. It makes quick work of any herb-heavy recipes that I want to test out, but also help me eat more tomatoes and mozzarella — with just the right amount of basil on top.” Meg Lappe, Outdoors Fitness Writer

Vacu Vin Wine Saver

“I drink wine while I cook — it sits atop of all grocery lists as an essential ingredient and helps me enjoy cooking as an activity rather than just a means to an end. Wine also makes me patient (my idle hands have something to do while I let a steak rest) and forgiving. As Hemingway put it, ‘It makes you forget all the bad,’ just like that steak you most-definitely burned. This godsent little tool will keep a pricey bottle from turning into vinegar for at least 72 hours.” — Mike Bailey, Account Executive

Williams Sonoma Classic Apron

“The Williams Sonoma Classic Apron is one of those items that instantly makes you feel like you’re better at cooking. I wear it even when I’m just cranking out some grilled cheese sammies for the kids. It’s also a go-to on camping trips. No need to get splattered with bacon grease when cooking for a crew of campers.” — Kyle Snarr, Head of Marketing

Joseph Joseph Spiro 3-in-1 Hand-Held Spiralizer

“I love pasta, but sometimes, making the same old spaghetti gets boring. So my wife picked up this spiralizer to make vegetable noodles and it’s quite the revelation. The Spiro is easy to use and works with a wide array of vegetables, though zucchini is my go-to. Just toss the spiralized vegetables into a skillet for searing and you’ve got a healthy, gluten-free pasta alternative for the price of a vegetable.” — Ryan Brower, Gear Patrol Studios

Kalita Wave 185

“I love a lot of things that embody Japanese design. Classic Seiko watches. The stick-shift Maxima I drove in college. The uncountable Minolta, Canon and Nikon film cameras I’ve owned. So it’s really no surprise that even among dozens of options for pour-over coffee brewers, I gravitated toward Kalita’s super-simple Wave 185. The thing is elegant, durable and extremely easy to keep clean. Let me put it this way: If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would probably change a lot about how I live, but I wouldn’t change a thing about how I make my morning coffee.” — Andy Frakes, Editorial Assistant

Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender

“If living up to the standards set by our forebears is a mark of success, then I still have some work to do in the kitchen. Both of my parents love cooking. Dishes like elk tenderloin (harvested by my father) and entire meals sourced from my mom’s garden were standard features on the weekly dinner menu. This simple and affordable tool has helped kick my own recipes up a notch. I use it daily to make new sauces, dressings and marinades that inject new gusto into otherwise average meals. It’s also great for making quick meals like smoothies and soups. My current obsession is this gazpacho by the New York Times’ Julia Moskin.” Tanner Bowden, Outdoors Fitness Writer

Epicurean Kitchen Series Cutting Board

“You’d never know it, but in middle school, I skateboarded with the best of them. So, it was natural for me to gravitate toward Epicurean’s Kitchen Series Cutting Boards, which also hail from skate culture. The brand started out making eco-friendly ramp material from wood fiber for municipal skate parks before it figured out that the excess material was perfect for durable cutting boards. Voila, Epicurean was born. While I dream of solid wood, hand-hewn cutting boards, busy mom life dictates the necessities and these cutting boards check all the boxes: they’re dishwasher-friendly, maintenance-free and, while not entirely the stuff of Instagram dreams, they still excel at dressing up charcuterie.” — Ali Carr Troxell, Managing Editor, Editorial Operations

ThermoWorks ThermoPop

“Every time I pull a roast chicken from the oven, before I take a bite or serve a portion to friends or family, I take its internal temperature. That’s to make sure I don’t get myself or anyone else sick. For the longest time, I’d been using an inexpensive (and imprecise) analog version that often left me guessing. But ever since I upgraded to a ThermoPop, I’ve been getting highly accurate temperature readings within seconds. As an added bonus, its sharp stainless steel tip doubles as a pretty great cake tester.” — Justin Fenner, Senior Associate Editor, Style

TeChef Stovetop Korean BBQ Grill Pan

“Eating out with friends is a very expensive hobby, especially when it’s for Korean Barbecue. I thoroughly enjoy the experience of grilling meat and breaking bread with friends, so after spending loads of cash on nights out, I decided to bring the experience back to my own home. Then comes TeChef, the stove top Korean BBQ Grill Pan. With this grill pan, I wanted to share food and laughter all while feeling cozy at home.” — Jarry Truong, Associate Videographer

Stargazer Cast-Iron Skillet

“I have found no greater rush than the first turn of a ribeye in a cast-iron skillet. Beer in left hand, tongs in right, the char revealed beneath the slab of meat is a measure of your patience, preparation and experience. I’ve had the pleasure of cooking on dozens of different skillets — $300 to $15 — and I’ve settled on Stargazer’s 10.5-inch masterclass as my choice tool. It’s gorgeous, its base is perfectly weighty, its halfpipe handle is perfect for getting a gloved grip, its outward curving lip makes for easy sauce pouring and the machine-smoothed cooking surface is a dream to cook on. Plus, like true cast iron purists, Stargazer permits ordering a seasoned or raw skillet. With due respect given to Lodge, Field, Smithey and the rest, Stargazer provides what I think is the perfect balance of price, performance and useful design.” Will Price, Home Design Writer

The 25 Best Kitchen Tools You Can Buy for Less Than $25

Hardwearing, essential and altogether overlooked. Read the Story

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The Egg and I closing FM 1960 location this weekend in Cy-Fair

The Egg and I located at 12426 FM 1960, Houston, is closing Sunday, Aug. 19 due to leasing issues, according to officials. The Egg and I serves omelets, scrambles, skillets, hashes and seasonal specials for breakfast and brunch. Additional locations can be found on Hwy. 6 and Beltway 8. www.theeggandirestaurants.com

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You Can Get a Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet for Less than $10 Right Now


Gear Up for Fall with Levi’s 25% Off Sale

Save on everything from jackets to chinos and, of course, jeans.

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Cuisinart Cast Iron Skillets Are More Than 70% Off on Amazon Today

There’s only a few cookware tools that you want to leave out in plain sight, but anyone who’s lusted over colorful enameled cast iron knows it can also come at a hefty price. Just one Le Creuset 12-inch skillet will run you $260, and let’s not talk about the sticker shock for the $380 French oven.


Enter the Amazon Deal of the Day: The 12-inch cast-iron Cuisinart skillets that regularly sell for a similarly eye-popping $250 now cost just $70. That’s a savings of $180, or a whopping 70% off quality enameled cookware that looks just like French stuff. And with both the cream and light blue options on sale, you can take your pick on which one matches your countertops better.

The perfectly-sized chicken fryer can withstand the stove, oven, and broiler due to its durable porcelain exterior and cast iron construction. It’s even dishwasher-safe for easy clean up! When the Good Housekeeping Institute tested cast-iron cookware a few years back, the Cuisinart dish also produced the best-tasting results.

No matter which brand you choose, it’s worth investing in at least one cast-iron dish for your home, says Betty Gold, a senior editor and product analyst in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Food Lab.

“Cast iron is amazing for heat retention — it gets hot and stays hot,” she explains. “When your meal is done, it’s pretty enough to go right on the table and the enameled coating makes it easier to clean.”

And with the savings you can get today, now’s the time to refresh your kitchen stash before the holiday entertaining season kicks in. Still need convincing? Just check out what these thrilled buyers had to say:

Great deal for the price when compared to similar Le Creuset pans. Hey, cast iron is cast iron, right?

We use this all the time. We have three Cuisinart cast iron pieces and they hold up so well. Love that the lids can go in the oven.

I love this pot. It just cooks so evenly. Easy to adjust the heat. Nice and big so things aren’t crowded. It’s heavy but that’s why I have my hubby.

Now get to it! This deal only last a few more hours before it goes away for good.

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Taste | Mornings over easy: Quick breakfast options to make your …

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