Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What's on my nightstand?

What's On Your Nightstand

I have never participated in "What's on Your Nightstand?" before, but I have listed the books I was reading on my blog before.  But, my dear friend, Jesse, took part and since I love her more than a fat kid loves chocolate cake (and I love books), I thought I'd tag along.  I'm also pretty excited that a new blog dedicated to books was opened up to me. Yay!

To participate in this party we're supposed to share about why we chose our books and when we sneak in reading.  I currently read in little snippets for the most part when I can snag a few moments during the day.  So, here's what I'm reading.

I got a new MacBook and need to learn the nuances between this and my old PC.  Nuff said.

Single income household.  Want to learn as much as I can about ways to get out of debt and save some major fundage.  I really liked this book.  It's a great base that made me realize I really need to dig deeper into the world of investing.  Nuff said.

I homeschool my 10 year old son and we are currently reading this classic together.  We're really enjoying it - only have a few chapters left to go.  We went to the library tonight and rented the DVD of it that stars Pierce Brosnan to watch as soon as we finish it because we're enjoying it so much.  I opted not to get the video version starring Jackie Chan.  Although I like him, the reviews I read said that it barely held to the book.  Nuff said.

I like Amish fiction.  I figured I'd also like Amish reality.  I do.  Nuff said.

My husband and I dream of owning acreage with chickens, cows and goats one day - off grid and all.  Since we don't live like that at this point, we put out a big garden and I make the most of this time as a learning experience for when we get to live the total dream.  Since we've moved to this house with a yard I've learned to can, make our soap and stuff like that.  These types of books really help.  This seems to be a really good primer in the basics.  Nuff said.

This book is similar to the last one, but tends to be more detailed with how to build different sorts of shelter, solar panels, ponds and things like that.  It would be good if you're going to do that stuff yourself instead of hire a professional.

Alright, so that's what's on my nightstand at the moment.

Happy Tuesday, y'all!

Monday, April 18, 2011

How I Save $30 On A Baking Stone

I have been gone from blogging for quite some time due to computer issues.  Well, I have a new computer now.  The only little glitch I still have is the fact that my new Mac book doesn't have an actual port for my sim card for my camera.  So, pictures will still be a bit of an issue for a bit but I should at least be able to blog. :0)

Today I want to share a recent find with you. We eat homemade pizza on a pretty regular basis here at our house. Getting that lovely crust where you can pick up a gooey slice and eat it without the infamous slide-off due to LCD (Limp Crust Disorder) has been a bit of a challenge, though. I started baking our pizza in my cast iron skillets and griddle which helped, but still didn't give me the results I was looking for.  I needed a pizza stone.

I looked into the stones that a certain Pampered home sales company sells.  A 15" round pizza stone would cost me $34.  Although it would be an investment that would serve me well for many years, I felt that was a little salty.  So, here's what I did.

I went to my local big box hardware store and checked out the 16" square floor tiles.  The gentleman working there told me that he wasn't for sure about the heat rating of those floor tiles.  The stones from the company above are heat rated to withstand higher temperatures.  Floor tiles are able to withstand heat because it is so common to run heating underneath the floor these days, but that only gets up to 100 degrees or so.  It was a risk.  But, at just under $4 it was a risk I was willing to take.  I figured the worst thing that could happen is that the tile would bust in half in my oven if it couldn't withstand the temperature, so I did a test run before baking with food on it.  It did beautifully at 350 degrees, so I felt confident enough to use it with food next time.

I have used my new baking stone quite a bit since I did that first dry run several weeks ago and am happy to report that I have used it in an oven up to 425 degrees.  My pizza crusts are perfect!  It baked a lovely chicken and broccoli braid.  And I made biscuits on it the other night.  Not only could I bake more biscuits at once than on my cookie sheets (I bake a big batch and freeze for future use), but they were the most perfectly baked biscuits I have ever made.  The top crusts were able to get nice and golden without the bottoms getting too brown.

I am so pleased with my new baking stone!  I only wish I had gotten it sooner.  So, if you are in the market for a baking stone, considering saving yourself about $30 and buy a floor tile from your local hardware store.  You'll be glad you did! :o)

Have a great Monday!