Hello- I hope your week is going well! We’re still waiting on summer here (after a few hot 90+ days in May, we’ve had rain and gray skies…), but it looks like this next week we’re finally going to see a number of days in a row of sun and 80s. Yessss.
That is if the app is right! It’s really been having a bad run lately even to the point of showing sun while it’s raining outside. Sheesh. #firstworldproblems
On to this week’s things I’m loving – and the links I think you’ll love! (Some of the links I provide are affiliate links.)
Our cleaned up gravel driveway. A few weeks ago Brian rented a Bobcat and along with a friend scraped the driveway and spread more gravel. What a difference- it’s like spring cleaning for the driveway. I just wish it didn’t cost so much or we’d do it every year!
Oh, and I think Brian got his Father’s Day gift a few weeks early, since he was like a kid getting to drive his dad’s truck with this thing (like, he asked me to take a picture of him in the Bobcat). I don’t think the smile left his face the whole time he was in the driver’s seat.
Stainless steel pots and pans. I recently had a reader ask about what type of pots and pans I’d recommend to use in addition to cast iron skillets and an enameled pot. I actually did a fair bit of research when I purchased our current set and since I had been cooking awhile at that point I knew there were a few things that were important to me:
- They needed to last. Like, I could hand them down to my kids kind of last. My grandma’s old set of aluminum (quality) pots with copper lids were still in great shape, I just read about aluminum and didn’t want to cook with it anymore. But that taught me that cookware can last.
- I wanted stainless lids vs. glass lids. Mainly because of the lasting issue – stainless lids couldn’t be dropped and broken (I do know the value of glass lids, though, for seeing when rice is done and water boiling, so I do have one 3-quart pot with a glass lid, as well as a 12-qt. stock pot).
- They should be a heavy, quality set with an encapsulated aluminum bottom – the best for even cooking.
- I also was looking for riveted handles because – you guessed it – they wouldn’t ever fall off.
- And the handles needed to be all metal – I chose that for the ease of being able to put them in the oven. I just use a pot holder if the handles get hot (which mine don’t much with normal cooking).
- I wanted no weird surfaces, whether non-stick, anodized or whatever – just stainless. I knew I’d be using the seasoned cast iron for non-stick things like cooking eggs, and stainless lasts longer, doesn’t put anything into your food or the air, and is scrubbable if something does stick.
While the exact set I bought more than 12 years ago isn’t available anymore, I love the way it’s held up and know they’ll be around if I ever were going to give them to my kids, so I looked on Amazon and found the set pictured above made by Cuisinart. The 7-piece set (top photo) includes all the pieces I use the most from my bigger set (that included a smaller skillet and small 1-qt saucepan that I hardly ever use), has aluminum encapsulated bases and stay-cool handles for under $100, which is a great deal for quality cookware, I think.
The other stainless pot I bought later and use all.the.time is a 12-inch covered pot with two small handles (versus a long handle on one side) like this Cuisinart 12-Inch Everyday Pan. I had no idea I’d use it so much, but it’s perfect for one-pot meals – both stovetop and oven – that looks nice enough to serve on the table. The sides are a bit higher than a skillet, so it strikes a perfect balance in my book- I love this pan!
Harvesting blueberries and marionberries. I love this time of year when the berries are being brought in by the bowlful! We’ve been making some fresh cobblers, muffins, and eating them fresh, of course. And the freezer is being stocked, too.
Every time I post about Marionberries I get questions about what they are since they’re not as well known outside of the Pacific Northwest. They are a cross between two blackberries that was developed at Oregon State University in the 1950s and named for Oregon’s Marion county (where our capitol, Salem, is found). They are huge and delicious, making wonderful crisps and pies. Their flavor is so good I’m willing to put up with their thorns and slightly aggressive vining habit. Which is saying a lot, ha!
If you’ve got blueberries now, too, be sure to check out the recipes I collected in this post where you’ll find a ton of ways to use them!
Reminder: There are only a few days left of this Grow It! Eat It! bundle of eBooks and eCourses including a thorough gardening notebook and book of unique jams and jellies to put up! Get 7 resources for just $17.47, a crazy-good price.
Links To Check Out:
Light and airy renovated home tour.
A fun crust for your next ice cream pie.
Add these plants to your bathroom to help clean the air. Who knew?
If you ever wonder what it’s like to film a cooking show at your house. (Hand Raised!)
A slew of recipes for your 4th of July celebration.
An all natural anti-bite roll-on recipe.
Like these links? I’m always pinning these and lots more – follow me on Pinterest for more inspiration and ideas!
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links and by clicking on them you help support AOC at no extra cost to you – thanks so much! Plus you can trust I’ll only share what I love. (You can always read our entire disclosure page here.)