Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Kitschy Halloween!

from the unhappy housewife.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Atomic Appetizer

I've been feasting my eyes on this atomic appetizer idea for a few years -
& I was just a few frilled toothpicks, salty olives and cheese cubes away from achieving it last night!

Houston: what the hell took me so long?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Goblin Girl

Saucer-eyed Goblin Girl will invite smiles -

Try a jack-o'-lantern lass for once! You'll need a round pumpkin with a long stem. Draw zigzag line around top for the hair; cut along line and remove lid. Scoop out contents.
Make eyes with apple corer. Carve out mouth with paring knife. Poke toothpicks into the radish [or hey, a carrot works if you are going for a sober - not Andy Capp drunk - lass] nose from inside the pumpkin. Gently press in upper edge of pumpkin - the "Italian haircut" will stand out when lid's in place. Now tie a wide-ribbon bow on do you like her hair?

Yeah. I was thinking wtf on the mafia coif, too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Night of the Living Squash

Don't be a square this Halloween and carve a traditional pumpkin. That's so droll.

Instead, implement produce and re-invent one of these psycho squash from Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Cook Book (c) 1959*:Outer-space Man [neighbors will likely question what planet you're from if you carve one]
For this man from Mars, cut V-shaped lid off pumpkin...continue line to form V-shaped eyes, as shown. Place big ripe olives where eyes meet. Cut nose with potato parer. Cut mouth; poke in twisted-macaroni teeth. Ears are carrots, halved lengthwise, fastened with toothpicks. curly carrot tops make hair.

Slap-happy Sam [take a day off work for this one]
Pick a squash and fashion this jolly comic [define jolly]. First cut opening in back of squash - stop stays intact. Scoop out. With apple corer, carve eyes and teeth (easy if you sketch features on first). Finish eyes, mouth with paring knife. For tongue, anchor half a large radish in mouth with toothpick. Cut nose and push piece out slightly at bottom; secure with toothpicks. Makes strands of hair with carrot tops or fluffs of parsley. For jaunty hat: cut a hole in paper coaster and push over stem. Glue an upside-down nut cup atop to form the crown.

Daffy Devil [is this an oxymoron or what? ]
Light a candle inside this pumpkin-head and set in window to greet little "tricksters," or use it to keynote a Fall buffet [or not]. Chose a tall pumpkin. Cut the lid V-shape with the point in front. Remove contents. Cut triangular features as shown. From the eye cutouts, carve flat triangles and pivot slightly in openings so they project for eyelids [what? why? wrong.]; secure with toothpicks. Cut mouth; attach mouth piece with pins or toothpicks to form lower lip [again, wrong]. Attach small leafy celery stalks for eyebrows. Toothpick big carrots in place for horns.

Goblin Girl

...I'm sharpening my knives. Set your kitschen timer for tomorrow.

*with the exception of sarcasm, these detailed, deranged directions are verbatim from bh&g

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ultra. Swank.

You'll rave over this retro site-of-all-sites -

Ultra Swank

It's a fab feast for the vintage-minded. Oh, and I'm a featured contributor this month.

Don't you love my mod modesty?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vegas on a bun, Baby!

Somebody had to put the 99c shrimp cocktail on a bun.

Luckily BH&G did in their After Work Cook Book [circa '74]. Introducing another retro rave, the -Shrimpwich!
A hearty sandwich for one or two -

  • 1 4 1/2oz can small shrimp, drained
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant minced onion
  • 1 individual French roll
  • Lettuce [my fridge was leaf-barren]

Advance preparation: In small bowl combine shrimp, egg, mayonnaise or salad dressing, chili sauce, and instant minced onion. Cover tightly; chill up to 24 hours.
Before serving: Cut thin slice from top of roll; hollow out. Fill roll with shrimp mixture. Add lettuce. Makes 1 sandwich.

Okay. Next time I won't go all-in with the canned shrimp. If I want that cocktail feel vs. senior center 'fish Friday' mush, I'm opting for a bag of frozen salad shrimp. And to add the cocktail-ly zip I embellished BH&G's recipe by adding a heaping tablespoon of horseradish. And doubled up on the hard-cooked egg to amp up the texture. This po'man's cocktail would get slots more flavor from the juice of a lemon wedge, too.

The odds are good that I'd give this recipe another go.

Luck, be a hollowed-out-fishy-sandwich tonight!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I could not believe my good luck when this black cat crossed my path at the thrift store yesterday -
Kitschy. Halloween. Plastic.

3 of my favorite things this time of year!

Come back soon to see what's brewing in the kitschen - I've been paging through the books this weekend...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Capping It Off

Shower caps aren't just for little old ladies who get their hair set every Wednesday at 11a.

They're for your leftovers, too.
I stopped buying wrap by the roll as soon as I spotted these elastic dreams at the dime store.

I'll never be sure if they're 100% disinfected, why with all the nooks and crannies, gathers and pleats, but aren't they sweet? There's just something about looking into the icebox and seeing a cluster of shower caps on the shelves - like a little sauna [okay, polar opposite there] - for your snacks.

So give it up for your granny and your groceries - and cap it off.

[yay me for avoiding condom jokes. it was hard.]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I've Got Nothin'


The sun needs to shine.

My camera needs batteries.

I need a trip to the grocery.

The blog needs an update.

More soon. So very soon!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Awww, Pumpkin!

It's not just my nickname [thanks, mom] - it's the sweetest ingredient of the season.

I celebrated the cozy temp drop and baked a pie yesterday.

Pumpkin pecan.I can't credit any retro recipe. And the crust wasn't made by my loving hand. But any pie baked in your own oven is a throwback to the days when a woman's place was in the kitchen, and an apron was more than an accessory.

So pull yours on.

Pecan-topped Pumpkin Pie
  • 2 deep-dish pie crusts
  • 1-1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare Deep-Dish Pie Pastry. Mix pecans and brown sugar in small bowl; place 3/4 cup pecan mixture in bottom of pie shell. Reserve remaining pecan mixture for topping. Combine pumpkin, half-and-half, granulated sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in large bowl; mix well. Pour into prepared pie shell.

Bake for 50 minutes or until just set in center. Add butter to remaining pecan mixture; stir until moistened. Sprinkle pie filling with pecan mixture; bake for 10 minutes more or until topping bubbles around edges. Cool on wire rack.

Now, prove your love and share it with your fam.

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Friend Amy is Sharp

Get a load of this beauty. She's long, she's lean...A real food-chopping machine.
Amy, I dig my new-to-me chopper. I absolutely can not wait to cut its teeth on a recipe.

Your thrift is a gift!
...and so is

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Maybe Later...

The only thing that's more fun than paging through a vintage cookbook of crazy, savory eats is finding hidden treasures stuck in the cracks.

Whoever held this Better Homes and Gardens Lunches and Brunches before me was keeping one eye on the 'book and one eye on their latest McCall's magazine. I found a few fun recipes and tips torn from its pages with jello molds, barbecue hosting and the perfect pie crust in mind.

Unfortunately, no drips, dribbles or drops have stained the articles. So I can't quite be convinced that they're as good as their word. Looks like this cook had the same "maybe later" attitude I do when I rip into my monthly mags - dog-earing this dish and that for a dinner that may [or may never] be.

But I'm motivated to try one of these [or one of my own] tear-outs.

Maybe later.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

B L To-may-to/To-mah-to

Introducing the Cobb Salad's sixties stepsister...
Bacon 'n Tomato Salad

This popular flavor combination of a bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwich has been captured in this delicious salad. [Betty Crocker's Dinner in a Dish circa 1965]

Just what makes it so damn delicious, you ask?
  • 1 head lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces [why don't they do that at the salad bar?!?]
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 8-10 slices bacon, crisply fried [let's not go there - my carbon-dated bacon experiment hit the garbage at approx 11am and was replaced by it's grocery bacon-by-the-pound bits around 5p]
  • 2 large tomatoes cut into eighths [godbless that fraction chapter in 2nd grade]
  • 1 hard cooked egg, sliced [I opted for 3, my fam's cholestrol levels don't require a lipitor 'script - yet]
  • Barbecue dressing [below]
Have lettuce and chicken well chilled. Combine in a bowl. Break bacon into large pieces and lightly toss [watch out for cigarette ash whilst tossing] with lettuce mixture. Top with chilled tomatoes and hard-cooked egg. Serve with [you guessed it] chilled Barbecue Dressing.

Wow. Never seen a recipe so dependent on the fridge chill factor, all molded salads aside.

Barbecue Dressing
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing [mmmm...mayo!]
  • 1/4 c bottled barbecue sauce
  • 1 tbsp instant minced onion
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
Admittedly, I had never made my own salad dressing until this sassy, saucy suggestion came along. Glad I whisked it together, because this BLT-for-bunnies would have been missing some zip. Let's just say there's a reason someone from California crafted the Cobb soonafter. What I would have done for some avocado, 'n bleu cheese, 'n spouts, 'n ham. In short, I give you creative license to toss more - and more flavorful - 'ngredients into the Bacon 'n Tomato Salad.

Burn, Baby, Burn.

I burned the bacon.Kinda reminds you of the National Geographic Kids' "guess what the picture is" close-up, huh?

Here lies evidence of said bacon-burning event. It doesn't make the same statement that say, a bra-burning or book-burning would. All it does is give the dog something to lick when I let him out later.
But the salad will survive! Back to the grocery.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Light & Leafy

Salad was on sale this weekend at the grocery. Yep. I left off the word -store intentionally. Humor my retro-speak. As a result, I'm going to head [ooh, lettuce jokes] to the salad section of Betty Crocker's Dinner in a Dish cookbook circa '65 [thanks to Mandy's mom]. But I don't know what recipe to adDRESS [more salad humor].

  • Bacon 'n Tomato Salad
  • Tuna on a Shoestring
  • Fruited Chicken Salad
  • All-In-One Salad [which, oddly enough, includes both canned green beans AND sweet pickle relish]
The sooner you vote, the sooner my fam can tear [again, har - although maybe it's not so funny since I feel like I have to practically footnote each limp lettuce joke] into a salad this week!

Have a swell Sunday eve -