Fireplace Cooking: A New Series!

Our new house has a fabulous fireplace.

It isn’t as efficient as a wood stove for heating the whole home, but it keeps our living spaces toasty warm.

And, see that bar and hook at the top? That’s for hanging a cast-iron pot, a Dutch oven.

I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to learn to cook over that fire. After all, we would be burning wood to heat the home anyway, right? Why not use the energy to cook at the same time?

I hope to experiment frequently over this winter with cooking over this fire. And I’m calling the series Fireplace Cooking (aren’t I creative? Ha!).

If you want to see which of my experiments succeed and which fail miserably, subscribe via the WordPress platform or via email. Or follow me on Instagram (@belovedbrowneyesblog) or Facebook (Beloved Brown-Eyed Girl Blog).


Social Media

I have branched out a little on social media. I do not post daily, or anything, but definitely share more day to day pictures, plans, and happenings elsewhere.

You can find my page on Facebook by searching for “Beloved Brown-Eyed Girl Blog” or by following this link.

You can find me on Instagram as @belovedbrowneyesblog.

I hope to see you around those places, sometime. 🙂

Found on Pinterest: Stove Top Pizza (Recipe)

I wrote about our oven issues. Well, I’m also pregnant and have craved pizza for a solid 3 weeks. Getting desperate, I searched Pinterest and found a stove top version. Yes!

I chose this recipe for stove top pizza from The Orgasmic Chef blog.


The blog author writes about a specific skillet with a vented lid. I don’t have that skillet. I do have an 8-9″ cast iron skillet with a lid that fits. That’s what I used. For the “vented” time of the cooking, I just shifted the lid slightly off the pan to vent the steam.

I didn’t have a hot oven to put it in, but the broil function of my oven does work. I put the whole pan in under the broiler on high to brown the cheese, for about 5 minutes.

My only other modification was to replace self-rising flour with home-mixed self-rising flour. It is easy to make: to 1 cup all-purpose flour add 1/2 Tbsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt.

What I Liked About This Recipe

It was tasty. The crust was crisp on the bottom, chewy inside, and the cheese melted fully. It was quick: no rising time for the dough. It was the right size lunch for me and the kids.

Downsides to This Recipe

The author didn’t specify to lower the heat from medium after the first 5 minutes. I left it on medium and about 10 minutes in to the vented cooking time, I could smell the crust was burning.

the bottom got a little too dark

So next time, I will definitely lower the heat at that point.

The crust also didn’t have much flavor. Next time, I would add extra salt and maybe some oregano and garlic powder. It did not have the yeast-y flavor my regular pizza dough recipe has. So the extra seasonings should help, I think.

Found on Pinterest: Banana Bread Pancakes (Recipe)

Our new house has a fantastic gas range and oven. Except, the oven doesn’t work. Well, it kind of works. Anyway, I had a couple of sad-looking bananas to use, and I would normally make banana bread. So I scoured Pinterest searching for stove top banana recipes and found this gem: banana bread pancakes from the Creme de la Crumb blog. The recipe made 11 4-5″ diameter cakes. We devoured them with butter and maple syrup. Yum!


I added about 1/4 cup extra flour to the batter because it seemed too runny. Although, I shouldn’t have done that because the batter thickened some while the griddle was preheating.

What I Liked About This Recipe

The taste, first of all. Just sweet enough, just banana-y enough. Perfect.

Also they were easy. No more complicated than regular pancakes.

They don’t require heating the oven (and therefore the kitchen) for an hour.

They were eaten all in one sitting. Banana bread seems to languish a while in our household because Nate forgets it is available for breakfast and the kids don’t particularly love it.

Downsides to This Recipe

I really can’t think of any!

6 made and waiting for eaters!

Preschool: Goals

[In my state, compulsory school attendance begins at age 5, with kindergarten (unless a kindergarten waiver is submitted). You can research your own state’s laws through the HSLDA’s website, here.]

My daughter is 3 years old. In the past 5-6 months, I have noticed a lengthening of her attention span and an eagerness to learn academic subjects (writing, phonics). I knew I would do preschool at home, so I began researching options. I quickly found that the approach highly depends on the goals of the parent. Do I want my kid to regurgitate facts? read or write at an early age? learn exclusively through play? study through “unit” plans?

Well… this is what I want for my child in the next two years:

I want her to spend as much time outdoors as possible, so that she can practice her developing gross motor skills. I want her to hang from the swing set, learn to swing herself, run around the yard, try to climb a tree, find rocks shaped like houses and triangles and hearts, lay in the grass and look at the clouds.

I want her to enjoy “school,” whatever it happens to look like for us. If she isn’t enjoying it, if it is just a chore to her, then it is wrong.

I want her to have some structure and rules around schooling, such as days and times when we will “do school,” working in a particular order and in a particular way. Doing things the right way (working page by page in a workbook, tracing letters in order left to right) is enjoyable. Kids don’t need to partake in reckless abandon in order to have fun.

I want her to practice and develop her fine motor skills for pencil-holding, page-turning, coloring with precision.

That’s it. If she comes out of the next two years writing or reading or doing any arithmetic, that would be great. If not? That’s alright, too. There are benefits to delaying formal schooling that resonate with me.

What were/are your goals for preschool at home?