Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mama's Making More Changes!

What's that saying? Where there's a will there's a way? 

I've been wanting to start my own business for some time now and there was always something in the way. I really do need some extra income, but I didn't have any money to invest to get started. I didn't have any time to think of creative ideas and research opportunities. I couldn't imagine adding something else to my list of things to do each day!

But I wanted some sort of backup in a time when jobs aren't exactly security. I mean, I had a week's notice when my employer decided to close up shop in January. I found another job, but boy was I scrambling! I had no other means of income. And if I could turn an idea into a steady, successful business, I could quit my day job and stay at home with that beautiful girl-o'-mine.

Well, it's go time! I've decided it's now or never! My sister and I are opening up shop together on Etsy very soon and I promise you will be the first to know when we are ready! I saved some money and she loved the idea so she is matching my contribution and signing on as my partner. Now we will be able to share the work and have the funds to get off to a great start. 

Wish us luck! This is not an easy time to start and succeed in any business venture. I'm sure I will have support from my MMC readers, though. In fact, keep your eyes peeled for a giveaway shortly after our opening is announced! Entries will primarily be in exchange for sharing our news. Feel free to share as soon as we are open anyway though. 

I'll keep you updated!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mama Making Dinner...With Cast Iron

I read a lot, even on my crazy busy schedule. I often read magazines and have many subscriptions because I don't have to commit to a whole book; I can read an entire article and come back to it when I have time to read another. Recently I've noticed many articles about cooking with cast iron. Um, hello, where have they been?

Specialty Cookware
small Lodge cast iron frying pans used to cook and serve
I love love love my cast iron! My mom cooked with cast iron and I learned early to appreciate the difference.

The weight of those pots and pans testifies to its durability. Pick one up and you know why they are found in antique stores in working condition a hundred or more years old.

A well-seasoned piece of cast iron was non-stick way before Teflon was introduced and is always easy to clean as long as you don't let it sit too long. Don't do that anyway because if you have to soak your cast iron cookware, that wonderful black coat may start to peel, or even worse...rust!

When cooking with cast iron, it heats evenly so you don't have some of your food cooking faster. If you've ever used a cheap frying pan, you know what I mean. It warps slightly and only heats where it makes direct contact with the eye on the stove.

Not cast iron. The entire pan will heat and toward the end of cooking, you can even cut off the stove because the iron will stay hot for quite a while. Which  makes it great for serving, too! It keeps the food warm! And a cast iron griddle stretched across two eyes on the stove will cook just as well in the center as it does on the ends.

Frying pans are the most common piece of cast iron in modern kitchens, but a cast iron dutch oven is a wonderful thing! Use it on the stovetop for a big pot of stew or chili, or in the oven to roast a chicken, or over a campfire to cook, well, just about anything!

Better yet, start a recipe on the stove and move it to the oven! Cast iron is great for that! I love making fritattas in cast iron because I can cook the veggies on the stove, pour in the eggs, and move it to the oven. Make a casserole by cooking rice, broccoli, and shredded carrots on the stove, then cover with cheese and bread crumbs and move to the oven to finish!

I have two small cast iron frying pans that I really love. One is just the right size for a single serving eggs or an omelet. The other is even smaller and makes a great substitute for a ramekin in the oven. Perfect for desert for one or two people.

Loaf Pan
Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron loaf pan
I don't have any cast iron bakeware but I would love to get some loaf pans for my homemade sourdough bread and I'm not sure what happened to my cornbread pan that made corn cob shaped corn muffins. Muffin pans would be nice too!

As a matter of fact, now that I've written this I've started thinking about adding to my collection of cast iron. Maybe it's about time for a trip to my favorite antique/junk shop. Ye Olde Fashioned Junque Shop is a great little place about twenty minutes away, full of treasures of all kinds, and I know there is lots of cast iron just inside the door on the right. Hmmmm...

Do you use cast iron? What's your favorite thing about cooking with cast iron?

Or if not, have you thought about trying it? You won't go back, I promise! Buy a pre-seasoned frying pan (it's the black coating) and give it a try!

Friday, February 15, 2013

A to Z Blog Challenge

In April 2013, Mama Making Changes will be participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge. I love challenges because they hold me accountable for posting daily, which is something that I tend to plan but not always do. 

In the A to Z Challenge, participants' post titles will start with the letter of the day every day except Sunday. Participating bloggers are also asked to visit and comment on at least 5 other blogs on the linky each day, starting with the blog that is listed after your own. 

The best part of this challenge is that participating blogs should see a huge increase in activity! This has been referred to as a "blog hop on steroids" because there are so many participants! 

Sign-ups are open now so click here to find out more or to sign up. I'm excited and ready to begin!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope everyone had a very, very

Happy Valentine's Day!

above picture courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Upcycled Plastic Shoes!

So I heard about this great company that picks up plastic bags that wash up on Bali beaches and turns them into shoes! I checked out their website. Not all of their shoes are made from bags, but they are all eco-friendly in multiple ways. And all of them come packaged in one of the bags from the beach too! The best part is that I really like the shoes. I sent the link to my son who lives in Missouri and he got really excited about these shoes. So...guess who's got a pair on the way to his address for his birthday?

I have sent an email to see if they are interested in working together on a giveaway, but I just couldn't wait to tell you about them! Head on over to The People's Movement to check them out and come back to tell me what you think!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It's Your Love Giveaway Hop


Welcome to the It’s Your Love Event hosted by Andersons Angels and Joy of Momma Joyner. This Event features a little bit of everything to help you celebrate Valentine’s Day with the one you Love! Each blog has gathered up a unique Prize Package of $25 or more so be sure to visit each blog on the linky below and enter for your chance to win some really amazing prizes! This event will end on February 16th at 11:59pm EST.

Glass Dharma has graciously offered to sponsor the giveaway here at Mama Making Changes. One lucky winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to their website!

I love my Glass Dharma straws!
Glass Dharma makes glass straws. Every glass straw that's purchased and used means less plastic being tossed into landfills. Glass Dharma's straws are durable and guaranteed against breakage, too! They offer three styles and each style comes in multiple sizes, so there's something for everyone. Find out more by visiting their website. 

Not only are they giving you an opportunity to win here at MMC, Glass Dharma is attempting to giveaway 1000 glass straws in April 2013! For more details on the incredible 1000 straw giveaway, click here. 

GlassDharma - sip the world. make a difference.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 1, 2013

$350 Melissa & Doug Toys Giveaway

$350 Melissa & Doug Toys Giveaway
Sponsored by Melissa & Doug

I love Melissa & Doug Toys! From puzzles to puppets, plush to play food, magnetic activities, music and more, Melissa & Doug® is one of the leading designers and manufacturers of educational toys and children's products. 

"Over 23 years ago we started our company in the garage of the home where Doug grew up — we had to be careful not to disturb Doug's parents who were still living there! Thanks to your support, we've been able to move into a real office down the road, a building that actually has separate ladies and men's bathrooms! Our philosophy has remained the same over the years–to make each and every customer a happy and permanent member of the Melissa & Doug family, while offering products with tremendous value, quality and design. Our line offers something for everyone with over 1,000 innovative products for children of all ages! We've always welcomed customer suggestions, and we continually strive to make improvements to our products. We're honored by the faith you place in us and view it as our responsibility to continue to earn your trust in the years to come!" -Melissa

Read Coupon Gator Mommy's Melissa & Doug Toys Review for more info on these amazing toys!

Three lucky winners!
Grand Prize: $250 in Your Choice of Melissa & Doug Products
1st Runner Up: $50 in Melissa & Doug Products
2nd Runner Up: $50 in Melissa & Doug Products

This giveaway begins
Feb. 1, 2013 at 9:00pm EST
and ends
Feb. 26, 2013 at 11:59pm EST.

Open to US and Canadian residents.

Best of Luck!

A special thanks to all the amazing bloggers who are participating in this giveaway!

~Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this publication. Nor did I accept any compensation for this promotion. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Mama Making Changes is not responsible for shipping prize to winner.~