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Archive for December, 2012

Bluegill Fishing

December 31st, 2012 by ironcooker

Bluegill Fishing Techniques

A well written post of bluegill fishing has been published by Joe Schwartz, Fisheries Supervisor, Iowa DNR.

Bluegill fishing lakeIn his post, he outlines easily understood methods for bluegill fishing.  As a bluegill fisherman myself,  I can tell others how or what I have done to be successful but his advice is from documented information from polls that prove success.

He states that bluegill are one of the most common game fish found in Iowa. I think we can all agree that this is the same in almost all the states that we live in. I know, growing up in Michigan, that we would find them in almost every lake. Bluegill can be found in large natural lakes, small ponds, and even in rivers. Catching bluegill is easy. Finding a spot that produces large fish and provides a constant catch is more difficult. You will need to do a lot of research, as he points out in this article

Details have been divided into categories that you will want to pay close attention to if you want to refine your skills or just want to read a good article on your favorite sport. Here are a few of those categories.

I.      Location
Finding that right fishing lake, stream, pond, or river that produces the large, constant catches you are looking for.

III. Spring and Early Summer Fishing
Details on water temperature telling when and how to locate spawning fish and what attracts fish to those areas.

IV. Late Summer Fishing
Details on where the fish go in late July and how the fish head to deeper water.

V.  Fall Fishing
Tells where to locate fish again with details of structure.

VI.  Winter Fishing
Speaks of how the fish head to deeper water when ice forms on the lakes.


This fine article also makes mention of the general guidelines you can follow that will have you catching more fish. It also mentions the tackle you will want in your box when you head out fishing for bluegill, whether on the lake or the ice. Be sure to check it out before you plan your next bluegill fishing trip.

Another article you might want to check out can be found at

Of course, the best part of bluegill fishing that we haven’t mentioned yet is eating them!  Fond memories of my grandparents along a shoreline with the day’s catch in a large cast iron skillet over an open Cooking Bluegills flame are some of the best memories I have.

I do hope you will read these articles and enjoy them as much as we have. Please comment and let us know what you think of them when you do.

Posted in Hunting & Fishing Life | 2 Comments »

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Recipe

December 28th, 2012 by ironcooker

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake SliceIt feels a little counter-intuitive to say it, but pineapple upside-down cakes are a winter staple to me.  Whenever she was invited to holiday parties, my mom has always brought one of these sugary desserts.  Family friends have begun to crave them at holiday parties, and who can blame them?  It’s a bright, flavorful dessert that seems fit for the Ghost of Christmas Present of Dickens’ Christmas Carol to enjoy.  The bright maraschino cherries light up in the middle of glazed pineapples, like Christmas lights on a house at night.

And the flavor is uniquely suited for this time of year!  The cake is light and airy, supporting the syrup and fruits like a tropically flavored cloud.  The sugary syrup recalls the flavors of fall that have just passed, and all of the best warm accents for the cold winter.  The fruit has a bright flavor that sings on the palette, contrasting some of the deeper and richer flavors of the season like chocolate and nuts.

Deceptively Easy

The really impressive thing about the Upside-Down Cake is that it looks and sounds like it may be complicated to prepare, though it’s very easy.  It’s a layered cake that’s built form the top down, and by the time it’s been cooked all of the layers fit and work together.  For your next holiday party, bring one of these and light up the winter night!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake IngredientsIngredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple slices, undrained
  • 9 maraschino cherries
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (optional)

InstructionsPineapple Upside-Down Cake Cooking

  1. Melt butter in a Pre Seasoned 10 ½ Inch Cast Iron Skillet. Spread brown sugar evenly over bottom of skillet. Drain the pineapple, reserving 1/4 cup juice. Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer over brown sugar mixture, and place a cherry in center of each pineapple ring.  Set aside the skillet.
  2. Beat egg yolks until thick.  Gradually add granulated sugar, beating well.
  3. Heat reserved pineapple juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Gradually add juice mixture to the yolk mixture, beating until blended.
  4. Combine all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder.  Add the dry ingredients to the yolk mixture, beating at low speed until blended.
  5. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and then fold egg whites into batter. Spoon batter evenly over pineapple slices.
  6. Bake at 325° for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in skillet 30 minutes; invert cake onto a serving plate. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Turn the Party Upside Down!

Have you seen how easy it is to make a pineapple upside down cake?  Is it better served with whipped cream, ice cream, or in all of its naked glory?  Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Posted in Iron Cookware Recipes | 4 Comments »

Winter Camping Adventure

December 20th, 2012 by ironcooker

Setting up your winter camp

Winter camping is an adventure that you will enjoy if you are prepared. Always remember that there are possibilities of severe weather that you have to be ready for at all times. An article that I always turn to that has great content on winter camp preparation is  Winter Camping: Preparing the Camp and Getting Through the Night.

wintertime adventure kitchenWith detail taken on winter camping a adventures

Wind protection – using land rocks or trees to protect your tent from wind gust that may be a hazard overnight.
Depending on what area you are camping in you will have different obstacles you will have to deal with, such as

< Terrain

< Hazards of avalanche

< Available water

< Consideration on the altitude of your camp

You will want to know the additional considerations that have to be taken in setting up your tent in winter
Now that you have all this planed out & you know where to go you have to plan on your winter supplies.

 Water is usually not a problem if you are camping near a stream or there is snow on the ground,  but you will have to plan on this accordingly
Setting up your kitchen can be a challenge you will want to pay attention to, Keeping your stove out of the wind as much as possible is important.

You will want a kettle for melting snow, small fry pans of lightweight construction & one iron skillet. can be a small 6 – 8 or 10 inch  skillet. This holds heat even in the coldest weather.

Being careful with your stove – Stove safety is something never to be overlooked on your winter camping a adventure
You’re going to want to heat your tent late at night before you turn in and early mornings when its around zero you will want to be sure that it is going to work when you need it.
If you’re using a wood stove make sure the chimney is properly set up & you have plenty of dry wood for this.

Keeping warm is always the biggest problem to work with & keeping dry is one factor; you always want to have plenty of dry clothes to change into
because being damp is never good wile camping outdoors in the winter.

Posted in Family Camping | 7 Comments »

Dutch Baby Recipe

December 14th, 2012 by ironcooker

It’s getting cold, and that means it’s a lot harder to wake up in the mornings.  We consider it a public service to be able to offer a breakfast option that will make your family want to get out of bed.

Enter the Dutch Baby, a giant pancake or popover that comes to us care of the German immigrants that came to North America centuries ago.  You might have heard of it before without knowing it—a Dutch Baby also goes by German pancake, Bismarck, or Dutch Puff.

Dutch Baby BreakfastIt’s absolutely delicious—lightly sweet, lightly eggy, and it forms with a dome that crawls up the sides that just begs to be filled.  Traditionally, a Dutch Baby is splashed with vanilla and cinnamon, but you can load it up with whatever your favorite toppings are.  Butter, sugar, and lemon are a great combination.  Maple syrup or honey are both delicious.  And if you’re going with a fruit, stewed fruits or pie fillings are a better call than jams and jellies.

Breakfast for Dinner

If you can barely function before you’ve had your coffee, no worries.  Dutch Babies are one of the perfect foods to be serving on those “breakfast for dinner” treat nights.  The scent of the cooking popover fills the whole house, and by the time it’s ready everyone’s mouths are watering.  Instead of calling around the house, you’ll be beating everyone off with a stick.  Serve with a side of bacon to cut the lightly sweet batter with a salty, fatty crunch.

Let’s Get Cooking!

Dutch Babies are fairly straight-forward, and will make you glad you had cast-iron in the house.

Dutch Baby IngredientsIngredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sugar

DirectionsDutch Baby Mixing

  1. Preheat your over to 425 degrees.  In a Preseasoned Cast Iron 10 Inch Skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat and set aside.
  2. In a blender, combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, vanilla, and ¼ cup sugar.  Blend until foamy, about 1 minute.  Pour the batter into the skillet and bake until the Dutch Baby is puffed and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  3. Top the Dutch Baby with your favorite toppings.  Butter, cinnamon, and powdered sugar are classics, but you’ve got to use what you like most!

This recipe presumably serves four, but that really depends on if you want to share.

Bake a Baby Tonight!

Have you tried this recipe yet?  Let us know what you think of it!  The jury’s still out on which toppings are the best—but that’s because the judging process is too much fun.  If you’ve settled on a favorite, leave it in the comments!

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Posted in Iron Cookware Recipes | 6 Comments »

Bluegill Fishing

Monday December 31st, 2012 in Hunting & Fishing Life | 2 Comments »

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Friday December 28th, 2012 in Iron Cookware Recipes | 4 Comments »

Winter Camping Adventure

Thursday December 20th, 2012 in Family Camping | 7 Comments »

Dutch Baby Recipe

Friday December 14th, 2012 in Iron Cookware Recipes | 6 Comments »

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