My Favourite Things – 2021 Edition (aka. The Modern Homesteader’s Christmas Wish List)


* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

From kitchen gadgets to books to home and body products and more, find the perfect gift for the homesteader in your life with the modern homesteader's Christmas wish list! (aka. My favourite things;)Every year around this time, I compile a list of my favourite things: Things that I love, use or covet for my own homestead, and things that I know other modern homesteaders will love too! 

As the list continues to evolve, I’ve begun to pare it down to only the items that I truly love and use on a regular basis.

Every year I update the list to include new gadgets, products, books, and items that have made their way onto my favourite things list over the past year, and I curate the list even further. This year I’ve narrowed it down to my top 10 favourites of the year!

As a general rule, I’m all about quality over quantity, and while that certainly doesn’t necessarily have to mean expensive, it does mean I look at items as investments, whether they’re for our family or for someone else’s.

The list below includes a mixture of higher-ticket kitchen gadgets that are investment pieces (and absolute workhorses in a busy homestead kitchen), to lower priced items and even stocking stuffers under $20.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the homesteader on your list, or you’re just curious to see what we use on a regular basis around our place, read on to learn more about the equipment, tools and products that I love, use often and highly recommend!

These are a few of my favourite things:)

 

All-American Pressure Canner

Photo c/o lehmans.com.

I waited a long time to invest in an All-American pressure canner, but this year I finally took the plunge, and all I can say is that it’s well worth the investment.

While it only gets used for a few months of the year, it takes up permanent residence on my stovetop during canning season and is built like a tank with a metal-to-metal seal (which means no gaskets to replace) and multiple safety mechanisms that ensure I never have to worry about whether our home-canned food is safe to eat. And that peace of mind is worth every penny!

–> Grab the All-American Pressure canner from Lehman’s right here, 

 

Instant Pot

Confession time: When I first got my Instant Pot for Christmas a few years ago, I wasn’t sure I’d actually use it. But when I started using it and realized how quickly I could get a delicious, from scratch, fall-off-the-bone meal on the table, I quickly became an Instant Pot convert.

While you can slow cook in the Instant Pot, it’s also a pressure cooker, which means you can cook foods that would normally take hours to slow cook in significantly less time.

I love using my Instant Pot to cook dried beans because I don’t even have to pre-soak them and they’re read in under an hour! I also make all of my bone broth in my Instant Pot (it takes me two or three hours vs. the 8 to 12 hours it usually took on the stovetop). And even the toughest cuts of meat come out of the pot moist and tender in less time than it takes to have takeout delivered.

Hands down, the Instant Pot is a worthwhile investment that has consistently my list of favourite things every year since I got mine:)

–> Get the 8 quart 7-in1 Instant Pot Duo right here.

 

Breville Anything

 

Last year I included both the Breville Espresso Machine and the Breville Immersion Blender on this list, and this year I’m adding the Breville Sous Chef Food Processor because it’s been such a game changer in the kitchen.

Over the years we’ve come to own many different Breville products, along with many other popular kitchen brands, and both my husband and I have come to notice a distinct difference in the quality of Breville products over other brands. Everything we’ve ever owned that’s made by Breville is a solid piece of machinery that has stood the test of time (and the wear and tear of our busy kitchen). The espresso machine and immersion blender still get used regularly and the food processor has earned a well-deserved permanent spot on our counter.

We also own a Breville Juicer, which is a workhorse during harvest season when I use it to process hundreds of pounds of apples into fresh, homemade apple juice. It makes juicing quick and easy and makes cleanup a cinch!

At the end of the day, if you’re in the market for any kind of small kitchen appliance and you’ve got a choice between Breville and another brand, well, I think you know what my advice would be;)

–> Check out the full range of Breville appliances from Amazon

 

Cast Iron Cookware

I’ve been in love with my cast iron skillets since I got them. Not only do they heat up and cook more evenly than stainless steel or non-stick pans, but they’re much healthier to cook on too. You can learn about the many benefits of cooking with cast iron here.

Much like the All-American canner, cast iron is build solid and made to last. In fact, well-seasoned and cared for cast iron can be passed down for generations!

If you’re in the market for some new cast iron cookware, I recommend either the Lagostina or Lodge brand cast iron (since those are the two that I have;) If you’re in Canada, like me, you can usually find Lagostina cast iron cookware at Canadian Tire for a steal, especially around Christmas when all the kitchen stuff goes on sale. If you’re ordering off online, both Lehmans and Amazon carry American-made Lodge brand cast iron.

Whether for yourself or someone else, you can’t go wrong with cast iron. Pair with a set of wooden spoons and a jar of homemade lard for seasoning and you’ve got a thoughtful and valuable gift that won’t break the bank.

–> Check out the entire range of cast iron cookware available from Lehmans right here.

 

The Always Pan

While cast iron is usually my first choice when it comes to cookware, sometimes I want something a little more non-stick than cast iron (because even though a well-seasoned cast iron skillet is naturally non-stick, I still find that things like eggs tend to stick a little more than I’d like them to on cast iron.

But I refuse to use Teflon coated non-stick pans due to the harmful toxins that Teflon has been proven to contain.

So last year I got myself an Always Pan and I have to say, I’m impressed! The Always Pan’s non-toxic, nonstick ceramic coating is made without toxic materials like PFAs, PTFEs, lead, cadmium and toxic metals that can be foudn in other non-stick pans. It also comes in 10 different colours and comes with a stainless steel steamer basket insert and beechwood spatula.

If you love cooking with non-stick pans but are ready to rid your home and kitchen of potentially harmful toxins, the Always Pan is yet another worthwhile investment that I use on an almost daily basis. Oh, and it makes great eggs:)

–> Get the Always Pan from Our Place right here.

 

The Prairie Homestead Cookbook

This is another favourite of mine that has made the list two years in a row now. As far as cookbooks go, this is one I find myself using at least once or twice a week, and after cooking through at least half of the recipes in this book with nary a complaint, The Prairie Homestead Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Heritage Cooking In Any Kitchen, by Jill Winger has earned its place on my cookbook shelf, and on my list of favourite things!

Every single recipe I’ve made has been delicious. Not to mention, all of the recipes are made with simple, whole-food ingredients that most homesteaders, modern and old-fashioned alike, tend to have on hand (ie. eggs, milk, flour, butter, fruits and veggies, various types and cuts of meat, etc.)

This is one cookbook that belongs on every modern homesteader’s shelf, and I have a feeling it will be on mine for a long time to come:)

–> Get your copy of the Prairie Homestead Cookbook here

 

Sourdough Banneton & Baker’s Set

 

Homemade sourdough bread is a staple in many a modern homesteader’s kitchen, and it’s all the more enjoyable to make with a few simple and inexpensive tools. I’ve been making my own sourdough bread for a few years now and finally decided to invest a few bucks and get a banneton proofing bowl, scoring lame and dough scraper. The set I got also comes with a plastic bowl scraper and a bread bag which helps to keep loaves fresher longer.

There are lots of options available when it comes to sourdough bread kits, however I’ve linked the exact kit that I purchased and use. Now that I’m used to having these few simple tools on hand, I honestly don’t know how I made sourdough without them!

This set is great to keep on hand in your own kitchen, and also makes a thoughtful gift for anybody else on your list who loves to bake bread or who’s interested in learning new –albeit, old fashioned– kitchen skills.

–> Get the 9-inch bread banneton proofing basket set with linen liner, bread bag, scoring lame, metal dough scraper and flexible plastic bowl scraper right here.

 

Masontops Fermentation Kit

 

I started getting really into fermented foods this past summer. While I’ve dabbled in fermentation before, the one thing I’ve always struggled with is keeping the vegetables beneath the brine. So I decided to invest in some pickle pebbles this year, which are glass weights that you place on top of your fermented vegetables to keep them beneath the liquid brine.

They work like a charm! The only problem now is that I didn’t buy more, because I only got a 4-pack, which means I have some jars of fermented veggies without pickle pebbles in them. All of the jars with the pickle pebbles still look great, but unfortunately I’ll have to scrape the top layer off of the other jars. Live and learn!

You can get the pickle pebbles on their own right here (they make a great stocking stuffer!) Or opt for the complete fermentation kit, which comes with 4 airlock tops, 4 pickle pebble glass weights, an acacia wood tamper and bonus printed recipe book.

–> Get the Masontops Complete Fermentation Kit right here.

 

Farmhouse Teas

Farmhouse Teas

I started using Farmhouse Teas herbal tea kombucha flavoring packs a couple years ago and not only do I rarely use anything else to flavour my homemade kombucha, I now turn to Farmhouse Teas for all my looseleaf teas and even some of my herbal medicine (they carry elderberry syrup kits, ingredients to make your own fire cider, cherry bark cough syrup, etc.)

Some of the kombucha flavorings include apple pie, turmeric and ginger, rosemary citrus and strawberry mojito, to name just a few. Other looseleaf tea blends include seasonal favourites like Country Christmas Breakfast, Gingerbread Spice, Sweet Maple Chai and Winter Wonder Berry, among many others! Browse their tea collection right here or shop Farmhouse Teas’ Christmas sets here.

Farmhouse Teas also offers artisan foods, herbal skincare items, kombucha kits, herbs and spices and even seeds to grow your own herbs and herbal teas. Oh, and they’re 100% organic and family-owned. The founder, CeAnne, and I have become friends and I absolutely love that every time I place an order I know that I’m supporting a family-run small business. At the end of the day though, their products speak for themselves.

–> Check out everything that Farmhouse Teas has to offer right here! 

 

Plant Therapy Essential Oils & Products

I’ve been raving about Plant Therapy for years now, ever since I stumbled upon them on my quest to find high quality affordable essential oils.

Plant Therapy oils are 100% pure and third party tested, which means they’re held to strict, high purity standards. But unlike some other popular essential oils brands, Plant Therapy sells direct to consumer (ie. it’s not an MLM company), which means they’ve been able to keep their prices extremely affordable so that you don’t have to sell their products just to be able to afford them!

I’ve amassed quite the collection of Plant Therapy products myself, including bottles of essential oils numbering in the hundreds, diffusers, naturally scented candles, body lotions, lip balms, etc. The only thing I haven’t had a chance to try yet is their line of full-spectrum CBD products (because they can’t ship those to Canada… darn!) But if you’re in the U.S., you’re in luck:)

–> Check out Plant Therapy’s full line of essential oils and products here

* For a limited time only (until the end of November 2021), you can enter code HOMESTEAD at checkout and save 10% off your entire order! 

 

What are YOUR favourite things???

I’m always on the lookout for new tools and products to make life on the homestead just a little bit easier or more enjoyable! If you have any products or items that you love and use all the time, please comment below and share!

 

Wishing you a homemade, homegrown, homestead holiday season 🙂

 

 

 

 

 


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

4 Comments

  1. Debbie

    Another thank you for your suggestions. I have been using an immersion blender for a few years now as I hate pulling out my huge blender and I have “gone through” a number of cheap immersion blenders. The plastic parts always seem to break down. I took your advice and purchased a Breville. It is fantastic. I’ve had it for a couple of years now and use it on a regular basis. Definitely worth the money instead of replacing the cheap stuff over and over again and being frustrated when they break down in the middle of using them. This would be a great Christmas gift for someone you love. Breville is the best.

    Reply
  2. Debbie

    OMG, Love, love, love Plant Therapy. Thank you for introducing it to me. I also have tried many brands especially the ones that are in the stores around Christmas. None of them are even close to Plant Therapy. My very favourite essential oil is Persian Lime. I use it daily. I haven’t found it anywhere else but Plant Therapy. Thanks again for bringing this into my life.

    Reply
  3. Kristina

    I think you should check out Doterra essential oils. They are non-chemical based essential oils, and they have many other products on there that are natural too. I for one use the laundry detergent (its even gentle enough to use for my 8 month old clothes and bedding); I use their essential oils for a variety of different things, like on dryer balls.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      I actually did try DoTerra when I was looking for a brand of oils I liked. But they’re way too expensive and I don’t like the MLM business model. After doing a few years of research on reputable oil companies, I discovered Plant Therapy oils are just as natural and effective but at a fraction of the cost and without the predatory business model. I also use them on my wool dryer balls:)

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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Winter often gets a bad rap for being the coldest, darkest, dreariest season of the year, when life as we knew it in the summer ceases to exist.

But winter offers us a much-needed reprieve from the busy-ness of the rest of the year;

A time to slow down, rest, reflect and dream;

A time to give ourselves over to the projects, hobbies, crafts and activities that we just don’t seem to have time for the rest of the year;

A time to devour books, soak up knowledge, learn new skills and sharpen old ones.

The winter issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine showcases just a few of the many unique activities, projects and opportunities that this season affords us the time to immerse ourselves in.

Here’s what you’ll find in this issue:

✨ Inspiration and ideas to help you make the most of winter on the homestead
🌱 The many ways to put a greenhouse to use all year long
🥂Homemaking tips for the holidays (and beyond!) with Homemaker Chic podcast hosts Shaye Elliott & Angela Reed
🍴Holiday recipes & comfort foods, featuring Honey Taffy, Mulled Wine and Winter Squash
🪵 Winter woodworking tutorials with The Humble Handyman and Anne of All Trades
❄️ And more!!!

To read the full issue AND get instant access to our entire library of past issues (26 value-packed issues and counting!), click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://modernhomesteadingmagazine.com

P.S. When you subscribe during the month of December, you’ll also get a coupon code for a free one-year subscription that you can gift to someone you love!

Give the gift of self-sufficiency this Christmas —> https://modernhomesteadingmagazine.com
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We’re all familiar with eggnog, but have you ever wondered what “nog” is anyway, or how this decadent holiday drink came to be?

The general consensus is that eggnog originated in England in the 17th Century and was made with eggs, milk and some sort of alcohol (aka. “nog”).

It may have even been enjoyed earlier than this, as a similar beverage called posset (a hot, milky, ale-based drink) has origins dating back to the 13th century.

As I was researching this topic, I found at least one source that claims eggnog was created by mixing alcohol with eggs and milk earlier in the season when egg and milk production was at a high. The alcohol was used to preserve the dairy products so that they could be consumed during the winter months when egg and milk production was low.

It was originally made with sherry or brandy, but when eggnog reached America it was typically spiked with rum because rum was easier to come by. Eventually some people started substituting American whiskey.

Nowadays we can drink eggnog with or without alcohol, but traditionally eggnog was always an alcoholic drink that wealthy folks (who could afford milk and eggs and alcohol) would use to toast to their prosperity.

Eggnog has remained a favourite beverage around Christmas time; One that most of us are accustomed to buying in a carton from the grocery store. But like most processed foods, store-bought eggnog is often loaded with additives like high fructose corn syrup and thickeners.

This holiday season, why not make your own eggnog instead?

All you need are fresh eggs, milk, cream, sugar and a little nutmeg (and an optional cinnamon stick) to garnish.

If eggnog is on your list of holiday must-haves but you’d rather avoid the processed grocery store stuff and make your own with fresh ingredients, you can grab the full recipe via the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or by visiting https://thehouseandhomestead.com/old-fashioned-homemade-eggnog-recipe/

What’s your position on eggnog? Do you love it or hate it? And if you spike it with alcohol, what alcohol do you prefer?
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One of the things I love MOST about homesteading is that it empowers us to become producers of goods rather than merely consumers.

It allows us to become less dependent on outside sources to provide for us because we can provide for ourselves.

But that doesn't mean we don't need any outside help or resources ever when we're striving to become more self-sufficient. In fact, it's even more important that we have the right tools, equipment and resources on hand so that we can be more self-sufficient and consume less overall.

Every year around this time, I compile a list of my favourite things: Things that I love and use on a regular basis, and things that I know other modern homesteaders will love too!

This year I've narrowed it down to my top 10 favourite things; Things I've been using for long enough now that I know they're a great investment and I can feel confident recommending them to others.

For the most part, these are things you're going to buy once and never have to replace.

I put a lot of thought into this year's list, made some ruthless cuts to last year's list and added a couple new things I've come to love over the past 12 months.

If you're looking to invest your money rather than waste it this holiday season –whether you're taking advantage of sales for yourself or looking to buy for others on your list– you have my personal guarantee that the items on this year's favourite things list are well worth the money.

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/favourite-things/ to check out the full list if you’re looking for the perfect gift for yourself or for another homesteader on your list, or if you’re just curious to see what we use around our place:)

What are some of your favourite homestead-y things??
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🥧 Wanna know the secret to a perfect, flaky pie crust EVERY TIME??

It all comes down to 3 simple rules…

Rule # 1 - Keep your butter (or lard) as cold as possible.

Freeze it even!

The colder the better when it comes to the fat source in a pie crust because you want the fat to stay solid until it melts in the oven. Then when it does melt, little air pockets will remain in the crust which is what makes it flaky and light (instead of everybody’s least favourite alternative: chewy and dense).

Rule # 2 - Keep the fat content as high as possible.

Fat equals flavour, and also helps keep the crust light and flaky.

Consider using whole fat milk instead of water, along with your butter or lard.

Rule # 3 - Don’t overwork your dough.

Unlike bread, pie crust should not be kneaded and should actually be handled as little as possible.

The more you work your dough, the more gluten strands will form, and which is what makes bread (and sadly some pie crusts) chewy.

Work your dough only as much as necessary to form a dough ball before you put it in the fridge to chill. The less you touch it, the lighter, flakier and more delicious your pie crust will be!

At the end of the day, homemade pie crust is almost always better than store-bought, but you’ve gotta follow a few simple rules to knock it outta the park.

I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting my own flaky pie crust recipe, which I use for sweet and savoury pies alike.

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead for more tips and to get the full printable recipe or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/flaky-pie-crust/

What’s your favourite kind of pie? Answer with an emoji below!

(Mine’s 🍒;)

#pie #homemadepie #thanksgivingrecipes #homesteadkitchen #piefromscratch #fromscratch
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The worst part about every holiday dinner is being stuck in the kitchen cooking while everyone else is just enjoying each other’s company.

The second worst part is store-bought cranberry sauce —You know, the kind that makes that oh-so appetizing slurping noise as it slides out of the tin and into the bowl, still shaped like the can it came out of.

Homemade cranberry sauce is stupidly easy to make and tastes SO much better than store-bought. Plus you can add spices to put your own delicious spin on this holiday classic.

While it takes just a few minutes to whip together homemade cranberry sauce on the big day, you can make it ahead of time and either refrigerate it (up to 3 days), freeze it or even can it to enjoy later!

Canning is my favourite method of preservation when it comes to homemade cranberry sauce because I can make it well in advance and I don’t have to worry about remembering to defrost it ahead of time.

Canning it means you’ve always got a jar of made-from-scratch cranberry sauce ready to go in your pantry long before you’re ready to set the table (and trust me, it’s a lot prettier coming out of a Mason jar!)

Plus you can make enough for both Thanksgiving AND Christmas, all in one go, and even keep enough on hand to enjoy mixed into yogurt, oatmeal or over ice cream whenever you like!

Now is the time to start your holiday dinner preparations to ensure you don’t spend all day in the kitchen and get to soak up as much valuable family time as possible.

Yesterday I shared my family recipe for homemade Perogies, which you can make ahead snd freeze. Here’s just one more recipe you can make ahead of time and preserve to make your life easier this holiday season.

Recipe link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/spiced-homemade-cranberry-sauce/

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Did you know that the fragrance industry has a stockpile of over 3,100 synthetic chemicals that they use to concoct their signature fragrances?😬

And get this: Because of trade secrets, they’re not even legally required to disclose the list of chemical ingredients in their products! 😱

Luckily, there’s an easy, affordable synthetic-chemical-free alternative…. Make your own DIY home and body sprays with essential oils and all-natural ingredients!

If you wanna learn how, you can check out my DIY Home & Body sprays Masterclass for FREE today only by joining me and a whole bunch of other simple living bloggers for the last day of A Cozy Gathering.

Learn how to create your own all-natural sprays, craft handmade rope coil baskets, cook delicious and nourishing winter soups, make herbal honey infusions and more!

If you’ve already signed up, be sure to check your email for the links to all of today’s presentations!

And if you haven’t signed up yet, there’s not much time left, so click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://bit.ly/307P0cT to sign up and watch for free before it ends tonight!

You also have the option of purchasing lifetime access if you miss it:)

I’ll be making more of these for Christmas gifts this year, along with candles and baskets of goodies from our pantry 😊

Let me know if you’ll be making some too!
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I woke up this morning and it was still dark as night.

The rain was pelting down on our roof and the wind was howling.

Outside it was cold and dreary, but inside I lit my morning candle, turned on the soft white fairy lights we have strung in our kitchen, put a few drops of oil in the diffuser and snuggled back under the blankets with a hot cup of coffee before it was time to “officially” start the day.

I just love this time of year!

I talk a lot about seasonal living, mostly because as a homesteader, you have no choice but to live with the seasons.

You’re either starting seeds and planting in the spring, tending your garden in the summer, preserving in the fall or sitting by the fire in the winter as you eat from the larder full of food you worked so hard to put up the rest of the year, and dreaming about starting all over again in the spring.

Our success as homesteaders really does depend on us changing up our routines and making the most of each season, though this can sometimes feel easier said than done when the weather outside is dark and miserable.

But there’s something magical and deeply nourishing about this time of year, should we choose to embrace it for all it has to offer.

If you’re looking for a little help or inspiration to help you approach the winter months with intention and make this season as cozy, joyous and restful as it can be, I’m so excited to invite you to A Cozy Gathering: a 3-day virtual summit featuring 16 expert speakers, giveaways, and a lifetime’s access to a wealth of information and actionable ideas for simple-living during all four seasons (but especially fall and winter!)

The summit starts on Monday, November 8th and is completely FREE to attend.
OR you can upgrade and get instant, lifetime access to the entire summit, including all of the presentations and exclusive bonuses for just $47 (until Sunday only).

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to register for free and save your seat, or purchase instant, lifetime access to A Cozy Gathering!

Tell me, what’s your favourite thing about this time of year??
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We woke up to a killing frost the other day. If you’re a farmer, gardener or homesteader, you know what that means…

It means our days to get everything done outdoors are numbered.

It means we need to make sure the chickens and rabbits have fresh, warm bedding.

It means we need to finish putting the garden to bed, which includes adding a layer of compost and mulch to feed and protect the soil until we’re ready to plant again next spring.

It means tidying up our tools, putting away our hoses and making sure the water’s turned off so it doesn’t freeze.

So much of life as a homesteader is dictated by the weather and the seasons, and while that can often mean a mad scramble to get everything planted, harvested and/or put to bed, there’s something invigorating about every seasonal transition and shift. It gets my adrenaline going!

But it’s still work. Nobody said that the “simple” life would be easy!

But it’s precisely that hard work that makes falling into bed each night so gratifying. It’s the feeling of a day well spent and a job well done.

If you’re looking for some tips on what to do now before the ground freezes solid to make sure you’re ready for winter AND ready to start all over again in the garden next spring, be sure to check out the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, which is full of tips and advice to help you wrap up the growing season and get a head start on the coming months.

As always, a little bit (more) hard work right now will definitely make life easier down the line.

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to subscribe and read the latest issue if you haven’t yet, or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com

#homesteading #homesteadersofinstagram #simplelife #selfsufficiency #winteriscoming
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Fact: You can use a cast iron skillet to cook your food, get extra iron in your diet and even to ward off criminals!

These are just a few of the benefits of cooking with cast iron. Wanna know more??

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/7-benefits-of-cooking-with-cast-iron

Do you cook with cast iron? If so, what do you like most about it? Let me know down below!👇

#castiron #castironcooking #homesteadkitchen
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