When the Old Way Is Better

Every once in a while, I’m struck by how an old or older “technology” really is better than something newer and allegedly better.

Take, for example, a cast iron fry pan.

pan
Old, new, can’t tell with one of these.

I never owned one until very recently. Why? Well, because this new Teflon non-stick coating was so much better. Granted, I have to throw out a non-stick pan the moment the coating started to get scratched as its toxic to ingest, but it was still so much better, right?

Except, maybe it’s not.

I was feeling wasteful at having to toss out pans if the coating got scratched. I was also feeling a bit nervous about cooking on a toxic surface, so I tried the next greatest new thing. The ceramic pan. Except, that scratches, too. And yes, I use only plastic utensils on the pans, which, I’m not entirely sure if that’s  great choice either, as plastic does bad things at higher temps.

So, I was hanging out watching Netflix when an old cooking show came on and the host was talking about how amazing cast iron is. I ignored it, but the thought was percolating back there for some time. So, when I was looking at having to toss yet another scratched pan, I decided to try the cast iron.

Holy wow, this really is a weapon. And here, I thought Disney was just teasing with Rapunzel using it as a weapon. They weren’t. The basic cast iron 12 inch skillet I bought weighs over seventeen pounds. It was approximate seventeen dollars, which makes me wonder if these are sold by the pound. But I digress.

rapunzel
Yes, these really can be used as a weapon.

There are some pros and also some cons to our new pan.

Pros

  1. This sucker is going to last a lifetime with proper care
  2. It does an amazing job browning food.
  3. It goes directly from stove top into the oven. This means no extra pans to clean when you need to say, brown steaks, then finish them in the oven.
  4. It cooks faster than other pans. I add this as a pro because it will be in the long run. Right now, I have to relearn all my cook times for things.
  5. It’s cast iron. Nothing toxic getting into my food.
  6. I don’t think you can scratch it. Time will tell on this.
proscons
I always feel like this.

Cons

  1. Clean-up. You can’t pop this into the dishwasher. After it cools, you have to scrape all the particulate off of it, wash it, then completely dry it. Once that’s done, you have to rub a bit of cooking oil over it to protect it. Yeah, kind of a pain.
  2. It’s heavy. As in, two handed heavy when popping it into the stove. Not a con in and of itself, except for the fact that…
  3. It’s hot. There is nowhere on the pan you can touch without your oven mitts. Mine are silicon because this is one thing new technology has over the old: no spots on my silicone gloves where I can still get burned even while wearing them. It’s also easy to wash off anything that I might’ve spilled on them

 

For the moment, the pros are outweighing the cons. I’ll see if I’m still using it in a year.

How about you? Have you ever cooked with cast iron? Do you like it? What are your thoughts on non-stick pans? Any other kids of pans you can recommend?

Life Hack: Getting “Nuts” for Under $2

No, I’m not missing anything there. I really am talking about getting a protein packed “nuts” for under $2.

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Not these, though.

I haven’t been eating raw almonds in some years. They were always a specialty item in my area, and that meant I had to go to the specialty store or order them on Amazon. So, I went to order off of Amazon, because taking two children to a grocery is always such fun, when I learned they were more expensive than they were a few years ago. A LOT more expensive.

But, I ordered them anyway *sigh*

In the meantime, I decided to try a recipe from a long time back. It’s pretty easy, and you know if has to be if I’m going to bother with it.

 

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Before.

What you need:

  • 1 bag of dried garbanzo beans (or chick peas – same thing).
  • Cooking spray
  • Garlic Salt to taste
  • Italian Seasoning to taste

Yeah, that’s it.

Here’s how you make these tasty treats:

  • Cook the garbanzo beans according to the instructions on the bag. (Yes, you can use the ones out of the can. They’re a lot more expensive, pretty mushy so they need to bake longer, and have a lot more salt in them. And yes, I tried them. Lazy Time constrained, remember?)
    • Mine had to be brought to a boil and simmered for 2 hours. Overnight soaking is optional, but so not happening in my house.

 

  • Preheat your oven to 425F
  • Once the beans are cooked, give them a few minutes to cool. No really, or you’ll end up with burned fingers. You just simmered them for two hours.
  • Dry off the garbanzo beans on a clean towel.
  • Spray a backing sheet with the cooking spray
  • Put the garbanzo beans on the tray, spreading them out
  • Spray the beans with cooking spray.
  • Seasons with your garlic salt and Italian seasoning. My husband like a little cayenne pepper added.
  • Cook the garbanzo beans in the 425F oven for 25 minutes. Check it. DON’T SKIP THIS. If they’re golden brown and crispy, take them out. If not, set for 5 minute increments until they are.
    • Not much is worse than setting the timer for 40 minutes, because that’s what it usually takes, only to find your batch blackened. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…

Anyway, these are tasty, very portable, and very filling. Just be careful your first few times eating them. They are beans, after all, and beans have certain properties.

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After.

This makes a good size batch of high protein, low fat snacks. I paid $1.79 for my 1lb bag of garbanzo beans that yielded a crap-ton of beans. Probably close to $25 worth of almonds, and they have no fat. I can also eat a lot more almonds than this snack because of the fiber in these. Seriously, fiber.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the fiber!

 

Any tricks or tips you have on healthy eating? Particularly low-carb high-protein? Always looking for tasty, reasonably-priced options!