If you want to push something down, you have to pull it up.

So, on a lighter note compared to my last post, I thought I would throw out some more cast iron love. :)  I know I'm not all fancy like the Pioneer Woman with immaculate photos, so I'll work on that eventually. For now, I'll have to paint you a word picture with one photo I took with my iPhone because I wanted to instagram it. Yes. I just said that.  

When I am reasoning a skillet, I have a few go to recipes that I like to use. Number one is anything with bacon, of course. There is nothing like bacon grease for seasoning cast iron. If you are vegan or vegetarian, there is still hope. Try broiling root veggies in coconut oil. It's delicious. I'll put up that recipe soon, but for all the carnivores out there... or fishavores (Piscivore if we want to get technical) salmon is a great to cook in cast iron. It's nice and oily, and the cast iron is great for transitioning from the stove top to finishing the salmon under the broiler to crisp up the skin. Not to mention, Salmon is my last name (although we pronounce it saL-mon... not because we are rednecks, but because we weren't named after the fish.) So, yeah, perfect recipe to open with. :)

When I first thought about the skin on a fish i was like... wow. That's gross. But watching the food network makes you change your mind because you realize that is what real chefs do. They cook it to perfection and then they eat it. So, if you are aspiring to throw down with Bobby Flay at any point in your life, I suggest you love the skin. 

I have found that frozen salmon doesn't cook as well and doesn't have the skin on. If you are working on seasoning your skillet, you definitely want to go with fresh. 

  • The fist thing is go ahead and turn your oven to broil. That way it's warmed and ready to finish your salmon without having to heat up while your salmon sits in it's oil. Plus, cast iron retains heat so it is still going to be in cook mode when you put it under the broiler, and you don't want to end up overcooking your fish. 

  • Next, put your skillet on the eye on medium heat. I like to season my salmon with salt and pepper, paprika,and I add some coconut oil to the skillet while it is warming. Just a little... and for the taste. The salmon is oily enough on it's own, but if you want to add a little butter for flavor, that's fine. I love it with coconut oil, and a small dab of butter or coconut oil can help you gage when your skillet is ready. When the oil/butter melts, looks clear, and is just beginning to sizzle a little lay your salmon in the pan. 

  • Start with the skin side down, and cook for three to four minutes. Then flip it over. With skin side up, depending on how thick your cut is, you are going to want to cook for 3-5 minutes. Watch the middle of the thickest part. You're looking for it to change color and get kind of shiny. It' will still be slightly darker than the flesh around it. 

  • Then grab your pot holder and stick it in the oven. You want to leave it there till the skin puckers just a little and looks crispy. Pull it from the oven and admire your amazing skill. Lift and serve. 

And eat.  

The brilliant part is the clean up. I like to let my skillet cool down slowly, and then I wipe out all of the oil with a paper towel. You can rinse under tepid water and dry thoroughly with a paper towel if you want, but remember WE WANT THIS OIL. When you are drying it off, it should still seem a oily. Don't do any scrubbing or it's just going to pull off some of your seasoning. After you've dried it put it back on the eye and turn crank the heat up to high. Let the skillet heat up with the eye and as soon as it gets hot, turn it off, remove from the eye, and let it cool down slowly. You just killed a ton of germs and barely had to wash a dish. You're welcome. 


We didn’t say Grace, we said on your marks, get set go.

There's this little place I go inside of me when I write. I can feel myself snuggle in there when I sit down at my computer. It's not completely dark, but it's definitely dimly lit. I'm not always there when I write things for this blog, and I'm not even always there for every single sentence in a post sometimes. This has been a weird close of an old year and opening of the new one for me, and I'm nestled in to that little spot on my brain's couch ready to pour out a little bit of myself and send it out to fly around on the interewebz where anyone and everyone can stumble upon it. Isn't that sad that's me being brave? I guess I'm not much of a risk taker any more.

The past few weeks  have been a little depressing because I have been an invalid. Well, I feel that way anyway. I have barely been out of the bed. I've had some sort of crud that almost burst my ear drums, Chewy bit me pretty badly and I could barely walk for a few days,  mother nature came to visit, and now I have strep throat. So, I've felt pretty useless. It's one thing to do nothing all the time because I want to. It's another because that's all I CAN do. Compared to what I was, I am feeling a lot better now, although the puss pocket on the back of my throat (enjoy that visual) is dragging me down.

In spite of the bout of virus and bacteria that have ravaged my poor body, nothing has knocked the wind out of my sails faster than getting bit by a short, stocky, angry Pekingese. Talk about childhood issues rising to the surface in a tempest of blood, teeth, screams, and growls. I felt so defeated.... worthless.... heartbroken. It is so hard to give and give and give and love unconditionally and even have a dog seemingly throw it back in your face... or bite it till it is bruised, swollen, and bloody. I swung my foot off the bed, and I think his reflexes from a past life kicked in, and he may have thought he was going to get kicked. To be honest, I'm not sure exactly what happened because I didn't see it happening. I just felt it. I felt it through every ounce of me. Through all that I felt my dad not loving me, all my faults, loss of people I love... weird, right? All that from a dog bite.

I don't write about my belief system often. I don't flood my Facebook or any one else's with Christian stuff, but even so I've been defending my faith a lot lately it seems. Apparently it's not really the cool thing to do to be a Christian any more. It's what dumb people believe in, and any one with any sense- common or otherwise- would do better to believe in nothing. It's fine to be spiritual, but just don't put a label on it. It's fine to believe in the paranormal, but just don't attribute it to anything biblical. If God was really a good, loving God, why would he ask us to worship him? Everyone has a right to their own feelings and to figure out the world that makes sense to them, but God makes sense to me.

 For me, Chewy chewing my foot off made me think about all this. I love him so much. It hurts when he hurts me because I want good things for him. I want to pet him, cuddle him, and rub his little belly like I do my other dogs... without him going ballistic and wanting to kill me.  I found him wandering, meandering alone. He was filthy. He stank. He was sick and needed medical attention. He was hungry, thirsty, and whatever life he had before has left him scared, scarred, and damaged. I picked him up. My family, friends, and I have cleaned him, shaved his matted fur, taken him to the vet, given him medicine, petted him, fed him, fell in love with him, and dealt with his tantrums, his bites, and growls. We have reveled in his cuddles, his licks, and his training.... and through all the pain, (and obviously it has been actually physically painful) we have loved him. That is really a good example of unconditional love... and maybe some stupidity on our part for dealing with all this (haha)... but we love him. He makes me angry. He makes me cry. He makes me laugh, smile, and even enjoy the fact that he wakes me up in the middle of the night because he's sneezed in my face. Because at least he feels safe and wants to be close to me. If we were to give him up, it would be certain death for him. No shelter would place a dog that without a doubt would bite or be aggressive like he can be.

God found me. He deals with my black heart and stinky mouth. I disappoint him so much every single day, I'm sure. I know I probably hurt him. I do things I'm not proud of, that I regret, and that I fail at a thousand times over. I can't even meet the expectations I place on myself... much less live up to any one else's.  My past has me scared and scarred, and sometimes it probably feels like I sneeze in his face.... but he loves me so much, I think he probably likes it. I see him everywhere I look... from the beginning of time and the expansion of the universe...the atoms that build us.... to the blue in the eyes of my niece and nephew and the wonderful heart of my husband. He is everywhere I look. I can't help it if you can't see it. I don't know how to paint the picture any clearer, and I don't really feel like arguing about it anymore because we aren't going to change each other's minds. The only thing I can say to you is live...and let me. That's about all we can do here anyway.

You could be reading this right now, rolling your eyes thinking I'm crazy. In fact you may have seen me treat someone horribly. Maybe I treated you badly. I hope I didn't, and if I did, I'm sure an open, honest conversation would clear things up. But whatever I have done, it's been all me so try not to blame god for me being a jerk. 


The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear.

Merry almost Christmas. I hope that this little blog post finds you well :) I haven't had very much time to write the past few weeks because I have been working on ornaments for people. People that are actually paying me to do something creative and personal for them! It's like a dream come true. Seriously. If you are reading this, and you have ordered from me, I can't thank you enough.

It all started when my friend Rema decided she wanted to make her very own Days of our Lives Christmas tree. Apparently Days of our Lives has this thing every year where they add a painted ornament to the tree. Rema has been watching this soap since she was little, and for some reason she entrusted me to fulfill this life long dream for her. That's a lot of faith. She even financed the endeavor and bought supplies for me. All that faith was a lot of pressure, let me tell you. But she loved them, and shared them, and I have gotten more orders thanks to her great idea and love for Days of our Lives.

During my writing hiatus, I've had a lot of time to learn a few things about myself.

1. I don't know how to sip things. I have no concept of what a sip is. Unless sip means guzzle. I have this thing where I think I'm going to pour myself some egg nog and sip on it while I decorate the house for Christmas. In like three "sips" my mug of egg nog is gone. GONE. So, needless to say I've probably figured out where all this weight gain over the years has come from. The gallons of egg nog I guzzle at Christmas. Beer belly? Nog belly.

Which reminds me of an egg nog story. Last year on Christmas Eve I decided I had to have egg nog. Obviously because I had probably SIPPED all that we had in the house, and were out. So we went to Kroger. They were also out. Went to Walmart. Out. Walgreens, CVS, Kmart.... OUT. Everywhere. We were running out of time because stores were starting to close, and we had one tiny shred of hope left in the form of a little Piggly Wiggly. I called ahead out of desperation, and they had two half gallons left. In our whole town there was only one gallon total of egg nog. I sipped them right down.

2. Katy Perry's "Roar" makes me inexplicably cry. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this on several different levels. I just have to come to grips with the fact that I love this song, and I feel like it's empowering.

3. It's probably time to start believing in myself. My friends seem to believe in me. My friend Shelly was my first etsy customer :) so maybe it's time for me to add more stuff to the shop...maybe people really might like what I make :) Either way, they seem to like my ornaments! Thanks again everyone that I can now call my customers :) I'm not usually one to brag on my own work, but I can honestly say that the pictures do not do them justice. It's hard for me to get good pictures of ornaments because they reflect and bend the light so much. I'll have to live with what I've got. I'll post more soon. For now check out www.facebook.com/flounderingsalmon for more.

We're also on instagram @flounderingsalmon or #flounderingsalmon and pinterest!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, my friends :)

This week is about Jesusbirthday, eight days of oil, the attainment of nirvana, and black people being awesome." -Bert 'Trophy Wife'


Its not wise to upset a Wookiee

Well, in a previous post I alluded to another dog that jumped on our life's train car. Or should I say it really just jumped in our real life car. Probably because I told him to. I was driving home from my grandmother's on May 19th, and there was this little Pekingese walking down the road. Now, it was away from any houses on a lonely stretch of road, and with him being so small I just had to believe that he had somehow wandered away from his home. I knew deep within my heart that someone, somewhere was heartsick and desperately searching for this lost little baby. I know I would be if I lost one of my sweet Boston Terriers. I would want someone to scoop them up, take care of them, and try to get them back to me.

He was SO jolly. So smiley. Soooooooooo cute. Also... So smelly. I will admit that I had a slight apprehension about picking him up and not because of the stink. I have what I like to call the "Wounded dog syndrome." I base this title loosely on a short story by L. M. Montgomery in which the main character had a compulsion to save hurt things, love sad things, try to fix everything for everyone and make things better. This is me, in a nutshell.... and often leads to situations where this meme is appropriate:

I did pick him up, though, turned around, headed back to my grandmother's, and conned her into driving around from house to house with me to see if we could find his owners. 

But... we didn't. And there was no part of me that could leave him where I found him. You may find it  impossible to believe when I say it was impossible. Physically impossible for me. I couldn't make myself leave him. 

So, that led to the little jolly, smiley, cutie coming home with me and stinking up my house even more than the two dogs and two cats already did. 

It was after those adorable pictures, he laid down in the floor. If I so much as walked near him, he let out a low, menacing growl. And thus began the bipolar, Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde personality. He can be absolutely vicious. And I wonder... is anyone really looking for him? Was he this mean to his owners? Maybe someone decided they were tired of his constantly ripping into their flesh with his snaggle tooth. Maybe he was abused. Maybe he's just crazy. 

I get frustrated a lot because people that hear about him or even the vet (he LOVES going to the vet) think his behavior at home is just a little fussy. Like maybe he gets barky or growly, but he doesn't really mean it. No, he goes beyond what a rabid Rottweiler would act like when he hit the "red zone" on an episode of the Dog Whisperer. 

He's crazy.

But cute. 

This is him at the groomer. We had to take him there to have the matts cut out of his fur since he repeatedly bit me and my Sister-in-law when we tried to clean him up....even though we had pepperoni. Real pepperoni. The groomer said that he was so aggressive that if I took him to the shelter they would euthanize him. Now if he needs to be groomed I have to take him to the vet to get him sedated first. I felt bad that he wanted to kill her, but it was almost a relief for someone to understand what life was like with him on a daily basis. 

We decided to name him Chewbacca because he acted like an angry wookiee... but sometimes he could be so sweet. 

Our household had gone from peaceful with my two precious angel dogs to them hiding under the bed when Chewy started his bouts of terror and rage and I had to respond loudly with "NO!" and trying to manage to wrangle him into a kennel without getting bit and without me touching him. 

No, no spankings... we didn't know what his background was. He could have come from an abusive home, but we did have to establish dominance and boundaries. We had to emasculate him. Literally. 

So, he was neutered in hopes that would calm the rage. 

It did help his bad habit of getting so possessive of blankets he wanted to hump that if you walked near him he wanted to bite your leg off. (Which was a huge problem because his favorite place to do his manhood business was in front of the bathroom door.)

Today our days are a little calmer, but we still battle his rage... just maybe not on a daily basis anymore. Maybe it's every other day now. That's such an improvement. 

And the sweet times are starting to outweigh the scary times. 

He finally learned to play like a doggy and has fun with my Bostons now. 

And sometimes he likes to sleep on my face.

We are still working on teaching him not to pee on our pillows, but I have a lot of fun making memes out of his cute face and bad behavior. 

There is still a part of my heart that in spite of the state of the word we live in believes that there has to be hope in humanity. As much as it hurts me now to think of giving him up, I have to believe there is someone out there hurting more because they miss him, they really love him, and he really is psycho and they dealt with it just as lovingly as we try to do. So, share this blog and any future ones that I may write about him... just in case. 

That is really scary for me to even write because he has snarled, clawed, and viciously burrowed his way into our hearts.... Wounded Dog Syndrome has kicked in. I love him more because he needs help learning to be loved and balanced. 


That's how America does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far.

One of my weird passions is cast iron. I love it. In fact, sometimes my hubs drives me a few towns over to visit the Lodge Cast Iron store and outlet. It's like the most romantic date for me. I'm going to take a few, random posts to discuss how much I love cast iron, maybe post a few recipes, talk about the care of it, reseasoning it, and just a lot of mumbo jumbo. I'm just warning you because I get all nerd about it, probably boring, and can talk about it FOR DAYS. 

I have my reasons, though. First, because it is awesome. Second, I get worried that cast iron cooking is getting lost to newer generations. I'm worried it's going to fade away like a dying gnome in The Gnome Mobile, and just like the old gnome that springs back to life, I'd like for people to get excited about it again. 

 I mean, I want to write it a poem, and It would probably go something like this:

Oh, Cast Iron! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Except then I decide I am no Elizabeth Barrett Browning, so I'll spare you the effort and just tell you (and this is only a few) straight up. 

  • Even heat distribution while cooking- The beauty of cast iron is that it's solid. A skillet or dutch oven sits evenly on the stove eye. Have you ever had a pan that was weighed down by the handle and caused the other side of the pan to not touch the eye? makes for seriously uneven cooking. I do realize that I have said the word even like a zillion times in this paragraph. I decided not to fight it. Close your eyes and let it sink in.... even. even. even. Even cooking, even heat distribution... Important stuff. 

  • Natural iron supplement- That's right! Get an important building block for your body as easy as cooking breakfast in the morning 

  • Natural nonstick coating versus teflon- With all the controversy over 'is teflon safe or unsafe' why not just go with what people have been using for generations with no problems?

  • The history- Speaking of what people have been using for generations, great great great grandparents probably cooked their rabbit stew in a pot on the Oregon Trail (or something like that) in a cast iron dutch oven, others washed their clothes in a large cast iron pot, and maybe someone in your past baked their cornbread in a cast iron skillet. Diamonds? Pearls? Pass down your cast iron, too. Imagine the memories that can be preserved when you bake cookies with your children... and give them the cast iron pan you used together on their wedding day (or the day they warn you that you won't be having grandchildren in the traditional manner because they have decided to not get married. I had such a conversation with my grandmother only to have to renege a few months later because Mark came a long and changed my mind.)   I have cast iron from my great grandmother and my grandmother, and I cherish it. Not only do I cherish it, I use it almost daily. I think that's pretty cool. 
Since I'm droning on and on, I'll expound on others in a later post. My appreciation for those that aren't faint of heart to read this!
  • Clean up
  • The potential to go from hot to cold and vice versa
  • Super easy clean up
  • Easy transition from the stove to the oven

It's the stick shift of cookware. You can find a piece rusted out on someones back porch, and with a little TLC, you can make it look like new. For example, I had been wanting to get a piece of the new cookware at cracker barrel, but I couldn't justify paying full price for it when I don't actually need it. It's the same cookware, made by lodge, but has this cute back:  

Then I found this bad boy....or maybe I should say sad boy:

Someone just didn't know how to take care of it. 
The sad part is that the person that bought this gave up on it. They abandoned it in a junk store and left it to whine and cry at passerby's like a sad puppy. The good news is that I got this puppy for $6, and they retail for double that. 

So, I started my reseasoning process (which I will share in another blog), and now it looks like this:

Perfect cornbread :) No sticking!

A few tips and tricks for using cast iron: 

  • Let it heat up and cool down slowly. This cuts down on condensation which helps prevent rusting. 
  • It's not considered cheating to use a nonstick spray on your cast iron just like you would any other pan or dish. In fact, it can help season the cast iron easily and effectively.
  • Remember that the food will let you know when it is ready to be released while cooking. Don't try to turn food over (like steak, burgers, fried eggs) if it is still sticking. It'll let go when it is ready to turn. Remembering this rule makes clean up much easier, and for this reason, scrambled eggs are the only thing I don't recommend cooking in cast iron. 

Check out Lodge's website for more information and some great gourmet recipes!

Here's an interesting link on the benefits of cast iron cooking. See? I'm not crazy. 


It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one.

"It's like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down through the air and there's a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things."

I remember hearing that quote resonate in the theater, and I caught my breath and held it, and I cried. 

Many nights over the past year, I've cried for someone, heart broken, lingered over every word written, and wished there was some way I could change what happened. I want to say that I felt her pain, that I felt the terror, but you can't be empathic unless you've been there... and no one in our little neck of the woods had been there before. Still, the heart tries to understand and the mind tries to grasp what it is like to lose a sister, daughter, friend in such a horrible, violent.... needless... way. There was a thief in our midst, and he had stolen something precious. When he did, he left a void in all of us... whether we knew it at the time or not. I want the heavy stone of her and her family's  pain to continue to create beautiful, unending ripples across this world, and I want to share them the best way I can... since they were brave, I'm posting here... the place I try to be brave, open, and vunerable.

I didn't know Megan, and I didn't know Kelly...but not a day has gone by that I haven't thought of them and their family.  I have poured over pictures and stories by Kelly and her oldest daughter Carrie. Since I didn't personally know them, I wondered if I should even write anything as a tribute to what she and her family have meant to me. The night I was mulling it over, thinking, I was walking outside and looked up. A shooting star blinked so quickly that I thought I had imagined it. I know there are coincidences, but in my heart I felt a starry eyed girl and her mom were nodding at me. 

So, I'm writing to tell you, Kelly Hale that you made a huge impact on my life. I love you, and I love your family. I know *her name is Megan* because of you. I love the way you wrote and the words you chose, and this is my tribute to you. I will smile for her, I will laugh for you, and I will continue to grieve for your family. I know what it is like to lose a mom, and my heart will bleed for the children you left behind. I am so grateful for your oldest daughter. She is so brave, like you, that even in the midst of her pain and darkness, she has picked up your torch so that we can follow along in her journey through the tears and laughter. Because of her, we will still feel connected to you and Megan, and we get to meet another one of your heroic children. You guys are a family of fighters, and I pray that you find some solace... some peace. *"I think it's time to be happy again."*

 One thing Kelly posted frequently about was how she felt she was letting them down because she couldn't get past her pain. She loves them so much. Now she feels no pain and can be present with them. *All the time.*

 There really isn't anything that I can say that anyone else in this community hasn't said before me. Our hearts have all broken, and I think that a tragedy brought us, linked us together on some other plane, off in the sunset somewhere, a place we didn't know. We are family there. We know their names are Megan and Kelly, and we love them. *All the time.*

If you feel inclined, Kelly would ask you to spread some cheer today, do good in this world, and to do it for Megan. Any place where you see asterisk, that is a direct quote or a writing style of Kelly's. Learn more about her and her wonderful family at  Peace for Megan Sharpton

"At times the world may seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may in fact be the first steps of a journey.” 
― Lemony Snicket


If you wish to see a film about a happy little elf, then I'm sure there is still plenty of seating in theatre number two.

So, some updates since I have last written would include what can only be called a series of unfortunate events, and a domino effect ending in depression, another dog, and an overwhelming amount of gratitude for my husband, family, and friends. Interspersed with stress and anxiety are rainbows and singing elves, though. :)

It is always a perfect love that breaks through the clouds of heartache and casts it's beams of light onto your soul. Sometimes the ground is too saturated from the storms to burst into life when those beams hit, but given time, our souls wake again. I feel like maybe mine is a little mossy at the moment. Maybe the spring is coming. In the meantime I'm so thankful my husband is trying to give me room to grow, and in the midst of the storms, has showered me with love.

There have been some rabbit trails that have lead to new adventures. I've done a couple of craft shows. I might have to add them to my list of failures, but I am learning a lot. My aunt and I have been working together on some projects and are slowly but surely setting up our etsy shop in addition to partnering with my grandmother in renting a small booth in an antique and craft mall. I'm going to try to mix a little of that with a little of this. That being crafts, vintage, and things going on in my life and this being blogging.

We have the cutest little booth! I love it. We always find or make the cutest little treasures. If you are ever in Bell Buckle, TN, drop by the Antique and Craft Mall and check it out.

Here are some of the cute little treasures we have had in our booth. We have more current photos on our flounderingsalmon Facebook page.

And then we are slowly (we're talking at a snail's pace here) building our etsy shop. There are some cute things there. And when I say some, at this moment in time, I mean two. Check them out at

So, I'm considering these little victories and some wild flowers springing towards the sun. We'll see where the wind takes me.