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"There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life." --Yutang Lin

Monday, November 28, 2016

Basix by Staub Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

A few years ago, I found a small enameled cast iron dutch oven on Ebay for a really nice price. It was only marked "Made in France", and I had no idea who had made it until I came across another one that had the paperwork still with it, identifying it as a Basix by Staub, a line of inexpensive dutch ovens brought out by QVC in the late 90s/early 2000s.

Staub, of course, is a well-known manufacturer of lovely and practically indestructible enameled cast iron dutch ovens, but this line was a new one for me. I tried to research it on the internet, but came up with little information; an expired listing on the QVC website and a couple mentions at chowhound and the like. Every once in a while, I'd come across another one on ebay; some of them made their way into my kitchen.

Since there's not a lot of information out there about them, I've taken pictures of the ones I have at the moment to share with anyone else who might be looking for information.

All Basix dutch ovens are marked "Made in France" with a number corresponding to the size (I'm not exactly sure what the numbers mean.) The small ones are #18, the large is #26. There are also oval ones out there, but I don't own any of those.

The small dutch ovens hold about 1.75 quarts, and are great for small batches of soup (I use mine a lot when I'm cooking dry beans) or porridge or just about anything, really. The large one that I have is probably about 5 quarts and holds a whole chicken and vegetables very nicely, among other things.

According to the paperwork, they are oven safe to 500 degrees F, which means they would be totally compatible for dutch oven bread baking (although I have other dutch ovens I use for bread.)

 They are wonderfully well-made and inexpensive dutch ovens that you can sometimes find for a song on ebay (the least amount I've paid was $12 for a small one) and can potentially last a lifetime with proper use. As with all enameled cast iron, wooden or silicone utensils only, not metal, and you'll want to handwash your pots.

Hopefully, if you found this page looking for information about your Basix by Staub dutch oven, you'll leave with a little more knowledge. :) And good luck finding more of them!

 Small Red

Small Blue

All four small ones together; dark blue, medium blue, green, and red.

Large Green.

Size comparison between large and small.

Jennifer 6:05 PM

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Not that many years ago, I updated this blog almost every day.

It's more that I felt I had to have a record that I was actually accomplishing something in my life, however small, and a a record of the weather, the garden, and my life in general. Not necessarily for an audience, but more for me to go back and read later.

Ah, I'd be able to say, I planted the black currant bush in 2007, and that was the year of the drought. I lost everything I planted except one black currant bush, which is still growing nicely in 2016.

And then, in the midst of the office moving and the budget crunch and trying to keep things afloat around here, I started posting less. I didn't want to unburden all my fears and concerns on this blog, because this is, after all, public record. And, for a little while, that's pretty much all I had--fears and concerns.

And then I shut off my home internet for a year and a half and only used my phone. And typing a blog post on my phone just wasn't going to work very well. (My netbook still had internet capabilities back then, but the hotspot on my phone isn't fast on good days.) When I hooked the internet back up, I'd rather fallen out of the habit of updating every day. Or even every week. Every once in a while, I'd think that I should document this or that, but then it doesn't happen and I move on.

I'm not abandoning this blog, but I will be posting less often, even now. I'm just not online enough to keep it up, and I kind of like it that way. That may change, someday, but for now, it is what it is, and I'm happy with that.

Jennifer 9:48 AM

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Sunday, June 05, 2016

It's June! Already. And I haven't updated here since March, wow. I keep meaning to update, and then something comes up, and I forget again. Repeat as necessary.

I've been busy outside, though; planting the garden and such; spring is my busiest time of year, after all. And although we've not yet planted Mom and Dad's garden, that's next on the list, along with picking currants and raspberries, since they are beginning to ripen.

So pretty much the rest of June will also be busy. And it will probably be a while before I update again.

I've also been busy writing the third book in the Abby Duncan series; it's going well in fits and starts; some days I don't have time to write, and I have to accept that, nowadays. I've begun to accept the realization that I really and honestly cannot do everything I am interested in or want to do, because there aren't enough hours in the day. But that also means I can pick and choose what to spend my 'spare' time on, and discard what I'm well-and-truly not interested in after all.

My intention was to post auctions on ebay (pick-up only ones) this week while I was off, but that didn't happen; I spent the first two days of my vacation recovering from a cold and the rest of the week catching up from the week before. But I'll get them posted eventually; there's no fixed timeline, after all, and every little bit I clear out helps shed light on what remains.

I'll get there.

But I did deep clean and rearrange my bedroom while I was off, and now it's not only an easier space to clean, it feels more open and less cluttered, as well. There are still plenty of spots for the cats to sleep (my bed included) but there's nothing left under my bed; and while I didn't go through everything under there and some of it can probably be tossed, it's safely stowed at the very top of my wardrobe where I need a ladder to access anyway, and where it's up and out of the way.

The garden is coming along nicely; everything is planted, and I have more raised beds out back this year. We'll see how it goes, but so far it's shaping up to be a pretty good garden year, even though it's been wet and damp so far.

I don't want to go back to work tomorrow, but alas; I don't have the luxury of a real choice in that matter. And so it goes.

Jennifer 9:26 AM

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spring has sprung, at least I hope it stays around. We're into Mud Season now, which means rain and well, mud. I did get to work outside a bit yesterday, building a new raised bed for the potatoes out back and cleaning up a bit--cutting down honeysuckle, for the most part. The bunny--Cinnamon--is outside now, and that makes me happy. :)

I've also been working on finishing the next book in the Beth Hill series. I've been writing it for what seems like aeons; on and off for the past four years, it seems. I finished the first book in the storyarc, but the second has taken forever to finish. But now I know what happens, and I just have to get there.

Due to the day job, it will take some time to finish, but I am hopeful I can finish it by the end of March at the latest.

I'm in the process of updating Plethora as well, with some thoughts about crafting and why that I now have a deadline for finishing the rugs on the Big Green Loom.

Jennifer 11:40 AM

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

It occurs to me, perhaps not for the first time, that if you concentrate on 'living your dream' and 'not settling for less' and 'taking that chance' and not 'blooming where you're planted', you're actually losing out on the present by focusing so thoroughly on the future that you miss the entire process of becoming what you already know you are.

You don't need outside validation. You only need to believe in it yourself, whatever 'it' may be.

I have no patience for people who are so focused on the fact that they are not living their dreams that they lose their present. Bloom where you are planted is not settling for less. It's making do with what you have, and realizing that some dreams are realistically unreachable; that some dreams are just that--dreams, and should remain that way.

If you have a passion, that's great. I have one, and let me tell you, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. But if you spend all of your time on the coattails of those you feel are living the life you hope/wish/dream you have, you're missing out on the fact that their life is NOT your life. YOUR life is your life. And it's totally different from anyone else's life, and totally, uniquely yours.

There's nothing wrong with working a job that pays well enough to cover your living expenses, bills and rent or mortgage with some leftover for savings, hobbies, and whatever else might interest you while you pursue your passions on the side. Hundreds of thousands of people throughout history have done such things. There's no shame in it. Anyone who says otherwise is probably selling something to help you 'live your dreams'--the ultimate pyramid scheme, because of course, with no market for what they're selling, they wouldn't be able to live their dream to begin with.

What do you want? What do you want your life to look like in two years; in three; in five? What are your dreams? Are they your own dreams, or did you borrow them from someone else?

What is your passion?

Jennifer 6:59 PM

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Friday, January 01, 2016

So 2015 is over and done with!

2015 was the year I spent money on my house, or so it seemed. A new water heater, a new kitchen furnace, and work on my boiler as well. I also acquired two new nephews! It has been fun watching them grow. :)

2015 started out with some difficulty, with the three weeks of winter in February, and having to turn down my heat to 55F when it was minus whatever outside. But the new kitchen furnace should really help or eliminate the problems I ran into last year, even though it cost a lot of money to install. In 2015, I also paid off my credit cards, which had been a huge goal for the past few years.

I acquired more than I really needed to acquire in 2015. I'll be working on that in 2016. I'll also be working on some of organizations tips I've come across, mostly for my crafting supplies. I hope to be crafting more in 2016, as well.

My only real goals for 2016 are pretty basic ones. I want to continue to utilize my exercise bike--5 miles a day during the week, 10 miles a day on the weekends/days I'm not at work. This has worked out well for me. I have my exercise bike set up in a permanent location, and I watch part of an episode of whatever I'm currently watching as I do my daily miles. Since I have very sedentary pursuits, along with the day job, I need something to combat that. So far, so good.

I want to save money. I have a goal, and a plan to achieve that goal. It's not an impossible goal, but it will take a bit of discipline to accomplish.

I would like to continue to work through my possessions and have a place for everything I do/everything I want to keep/everything I need to do what I love. I have a goal and a plan for that as well. I'm participating in the January Cure this year, and I'm also working through a couple of books I've found helpful.

I also want to realistically decide on what I can and cannot accomplish. I can't DO ALL THE THINGS. I have a day job. And a house. And I write books. And sometimes knit and crochet and weave. There are things I've kept that I keep intending to use or do or start that never get used or done or started, because I honestly don't have time or the inclination to start them. I honestly and realistically need to decide what to do with these things, and I need to get rid of whatever I realistically won't be able to accomplish in the next couple of years. (Or honestly admit the desire to do whatever-it-is has faded.)


Jennifer 6:10 PM

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

So another Christmas has come and gone, bringing with it lots of presents and oddly enough, warm weather.

One of those presents was a keyboard/case for my Kindle, which I'm typing on now. (And it just took me five minutes to realize that you have to hit the Function key to find the apostrophe; kind of awkward, but it's not that terrible, I guess. (Hitting the normal apostrophe key's spot is the Enter key, so if things look weird, that's why...)

But at least this one works, unlike the other keyboard I purchased and had to return a while back.

I don't think my Kindle will replace my netbook or new laptop for writing, but it would do in a pinch. As long as I didn't use so many apostrophes, or got used to the change.

(Also, I keep expecting the space below the keyboard to be a mouse.)

I've been quiet here this past year. Not because I've run out of things to say, but more because I don't feel the need to say everything in "public" anymore. This blog was once a rundown of my entire life; now it needs to be lesser in that regard, but also something else. I'm just not sure what yet.

Everyone seemed to enjoy their Christmas gifts; and since it was Harvey and Myles' first Christmas, there were a lot of gifts! I received a surprise gift of a knife handmade from a railroad spike from my sister; and also an InstantPot, which will be fun to try out. A few books I'll be reading over the next couple of weeks, some new pjs, new towels, and also a lovely antique clock (Dad repairs clocks, so I ask for one every year.)

It was a really nice, yet exhausting Christmas Day. I made mini cheesecakes (with goat cheese!) and peanut clusters with dried blueberries--I'll definitely make both again, as they turned out very well.

Now, we're coming up onto the New Year... my resolutions, or watchword this next year will definitely be a change...

Hope anyone reading this had a lovely Christmas.

Jennifer 10:13 AM

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