The Hot Handle

A blog interspersed with occasional gluten free recipes.

Please note: If you have a family member who requires a gluten free diet, be sure to use a cast iron skillet that has never previously touched gluten....and if it has, scrub it all down completely and re-season, to be on the safe side.

Looking for information on Celiac Disease? There are many good sites, but here is one to get started with:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lessons from Sudoku

Last summer I decided to learn to do Sudoku.

It was hard.
I just couldn't get it.

Despite the temptation to just give it up, I contemplated on this action a bit.

Do I tell my students to "just forget about it" when faced with difficult tasks?
Do we say to kids, "don't bother if it's frustrating" as they are attempting to read?

No, we break it down into little steps.
We find what a student CAN do, and proceed from there.

It was apparent that I needed systematic instruction.
I needed a book.
I found one that explained how to work a Sudoku puzzle, step-by-step.
I did a little bit each day.

By the end of the summer, I was doing pretty well.
By December, I was bored by my newspaper Sudoku.
They were too easy!

I got myself a daily Sudoku calendar.
These were definitely harder.

A few weeks ago I ran into a brick wall.
I was having a run at Sudoku failure. 
I lost my groove!

"Okay," I told myself.
"I'll just do one a day.
If I can't get it by the end of the day,
I will ditch it and try the next one the next day."

It worked!

Sudoku has reminded me of the importance of perserverance,
of taking baby steps, and
the fact that improvement is not linear.
Backslides are sure to occur.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Time together

Hubby and I took a little day trip today.  We went to Newport, RI, again. 

This time we went to Brenton Point early in the day.  The sun shone brightly and sparkled on the water.  It was beautiful.

It was also at a lower tide, so it provided a different view than my last visit.

In the afternoon, we wandered around the shops, and waited a half hour to get a seat for dinner even though it was only 4:00 in the afternoon.  The long holiday weekend, together with the beautiful weather, apparently brought people out in droves.

It was a good day.  I think we needed that time together, too.  It seems that sometimes we all get too caught up in our day to day lives.  We need to slow down and focus on each other for a change.

I've learned that time with your loved ones is a gift.  That's why it's called "the present."

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I did it yesterday.....I made ketchup!

When I researched making my own ketchup, I found that there are two ways:

1.  The quick and easy way with tomato paste, or

2.  The real old-fashioned way with fresh tomatoes.

I rather favored the quick and easy method.
I started with a recipe, but then
I adjusted the ingredients and method to my own desires.

The original recipe is here.

I put all this in a small saucepan:

1 6-oz can tomato paste,
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar,
1/4 cup brown sugar,
1 tsp garlic powder,
1/4 tsp freshly-ground allspice,
  (I only had whole allspice, so I used a mortar and pestle to grind it.)
1 tsp salt,
1 tsp molasses, and
~1/2 cup water.

I covered it and simmered it for 30-40 minutes on LOW.

Then I put it into a glass container and refrigerated it to make it cold.

The reviews?  Everyone liked it!
No one asked for the plastic bottle in the fridge, anyway.

Here is a photo with my iron skillet potatoes (from August 5, 2010, here.).

I didn't find any specific recommendations for refrigerator life,
but I suggest using this up within a week to be on the safe side.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Stuffed Cabbage Soup

I absolutely love using my crock pot/slow cooker.  What a marvelous invention!  Throw foods together, turn it on, and come home later to a meal all ready.  If you're able to set the table ahead of time, that's even better.

I was surprised that I have not posted this recipe earlier.  It's one of my favorites.

To make it:

Brown 1-1/4 pounds of ground beef in your skillet.

Mix it in the crock pot/slow cooker along with:

14 oz. of cole slaw mix,
28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes,
1 onion, chopped,
32 oz. gluten free beef broth,
1/4 cup brown sugar,
1 Tbs lemon juice,
1/4 cup of rice, and
1/2 tsp salt.

Cook about 8 hours on low. 
I usually start my slow cooker on high for about two hours at noon,
then I turn it down to low from 2-6 pm.  Dinner is usually around six.