See Some Warriors Sweatin’ It Uuupp!

  • Kick It Jamie
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If you search for “cast iron” on eBay, you will see about 15,000 cookware items for sale. There are also about 20 cast iron cookbooks presently on the market, not to mention numerous blogs dedicated to cast iron collecting and cooking. And there is, of course, a Facebook group, of which I am now a member, dedicated to celebrating all things cast iron.

The 11,000-plus Cast Iron Enthusiasts share their hot cast iron finds, restoration and seasoning tips, and ubiquitous photos of the food cooked in cast iron pans. Some of it is the usual stuff — stews, cornbread, steaks — and some of it is not so usual. (Fried squirrel, anyone? Ah … no, thanks.)

The point is: Cast iron pans are having a moment — a really big moment.

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Twelve years ago, when I was young, single, and living in Nashville, Tennessee, I began hosting a weekly Tuesday night dinner party. My friends knew they had a standing invite to come over around 7 p.m. for dinner. They brought the wine; I made the food. To help cover the cost of ingredients, everyone generously threw in a few dollars.

It was nothing fancy — the mere fact that it was on a weeknight meant that I had minimal time to prep the food and set the table — but it was a chance for our friends to gather around my yellow table for a simple, homemade meal and good conversation. Sometimes five friends showed up, other times there were 15. When it was a larger group, we’d set up a folding card table and chairs to provide extra seating.

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There’s something about having a big bottle of fresh apple cider in your fridge all fall that feels oddly reassuring. Maybe it’s the fact that a taste of the season is always just a glass away, or that it always feels like a treat because it’s only during these few short months that cider makes a regular appearance in your kitchen.

But after a few glasses of sweet, pure cider, it’s fun to play around a little with the bottle. You can heat it with a mix of spices for a classic mulled version, but think simpler — all you really need is just one ingredient to make your glass of cider a little more unique. Here are seven great ideas.

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We love Trader Joe’s for their snacks and pantry staples, but what’s really special is the freezer section. Amongst the frozen veggies and appetizers, there’s a selection of frozen shortcuts that help ease our dinner woes on harried weeknights. Here are five of our favorites.

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When you have a can of beans in your pantry, a delicious, inexpensive meal is just a thought away. You can turn beans into a vegan dip, substitute ’em for eggs, make vegetable patties, or just create a really good chili. Need more inspiration?Here are 17 recipes from our archives that will inspire you to cook with beans tonight.

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Turning a humble cabbage into a delicious side dish is as easy as a hot oven and a tangy six-ingredient vinaigrette. The result is a versatile, inexpensive side dish that you can serve with your favorite sausage or roasted meat for a nice change from potatoes or other starches.

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How do we take our heartiest dinner favorites and make them possible on a weeknight? We reach for our muffin pan. The magic of this pan lies in its ability to transform recipes that require much time to assemble (in large pans!) into quicker, smaller recipes that can be assembled in less than an hour — definitely a miracle meal.

So the next time you want shepherd’s pie or deep-dish pizza on a Wednesday night, know that the muffin tin makes either a real option. It will help you make manageable, single-serve portions for the ultimate one-pan miracle meal.

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From Apartment Therapy → Stop Getting Ripped off at the Grocery Store

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It’s 3 p.m. and you’re stuck in the office. You could buckle down and finish that pile of work your boss has been asking for, but your brain keeps sending you a message … cookie! Cookie! Yes, you — feed me a cookie!

Sure, eating cookies can give you a little sugar boost, but you’ll crash hard later. If it’s energy you’re after, we asked five professional trainers to give us five moves that will do a much better job. Plus, you may even get a little toned while you’re at it.

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There’s something so magical about having dessert after a weeknight dinner — especially if it’s a homemade sweet treat. That’s where a little planning ahead will really make a difference. All of these desserts are easy to make and easy to portion, so you can be sure they will last a little longer than one evening.

Choose your favorite, make it this weekend, and make next week even better than you imagined.

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