Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Kitschmas!

to you & yours - from mine!

Friday, December 10, 2010

WTF?!? Friday: Chips & ???

This cookbook.

And this freako clown.

Are sure that a side of this will compliment the crunch of your favorite potato chip.But wtf is it?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Whooo likes gingerbread cookys?

I wish we spelled cookies cookys. Don't you?

[my recipe comes from this book - my mom's circa the '60s]

'Tis the season to tie one on [an apron! what'd you think I met? a vodka gimlet], and I've been busy in the kitchen. Sometimes in the quiet of the evening, sometimes with the riot of the family.
Last night it was time to gingerly bake and decorate gingerbread boys [or men?], trees, stars and...owls.
The kids & Tom surprised me with a sweet hooty cooky cutter. It hit the mailbox that afternoon and I resisted the urge to defy the government and open it myself, even though it was addressed to Tom.

I'm so glad I did. Do you do gingerbread? Crunchy - or chewy?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday: Beverages for a Crowd

A jello mold that serves 20 is one thing. Spirits for a dozen is something different altogether! My mom bestowed this bevy of beverages ala Calvert Whiskey and Wabel's Liquor Store circa 1960 this weekend.We're throwing a little to-do, and I want to add some ta-daa at our modest bar. I'm thinking punch will be a pleaser - who could argue with Chapter 3?!

Like a bowl of:
Stirrup Cup
1 pint light rum
1 1/2 oz brown sugar
3 oz lime juice
6 oz pineapple juice

Serve in punch bowl with ice. Provide highball glasses filled with cracked ice and decorated with lemon peel spiral.

There are so many swell suggestions for 'home entertaining' in this handbook, it's perfection when it comes to party planning. I'd be a fool not to consult these professionals for my party.

What are your party plans?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Molds for the Masses

Kay Savage was the Dear Abby of her day. In an if-you-give-a-hoot-about-the-Detroit-Free-Press foodie kind of way. And in the back of her kinda-cookbook, Recipes From The Tower Kitchen, there is a Q & A that totally made my day.

Q--Have you a molded vegetable salad that will serve about 20?

A--[blah blah blah]...Good results can be obtained by molding this mixture in two ring molds. The centers may be used to hold small bowls of salad dressing if you wish.

Vegetable Perfection Salad
4 cans condensed beef consomme
4 pkgs lemon-flavored gelatin [why, oh why must beef be paired with lemon jello?]
2 1/2 c cold water
1/3 c lemon juice
4 hard cooked eggs, sliced
1 1/2 c sweet mix pickles, chopped
4 c shredded carrot
3 c thinly sliced celery
1/4 c chopped pimento

Do you really, really, really want me to post the instructions? I would let my stomach turn for you if you told me you wanted me to.

Please don't.

Friday, December 3, 2010

WTF?!? Friday: Shaken - not stirred.

The BH&G Blender Book does it again...
But what the hell has it done?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Corn. In. Space.

It came from outer space.And it was corn.
And Reynolds Wrap swore you could cook it with microwave energy. Because micro-waves can't penetrate aluminum foil.
But doesn't it throw sparks? Even from this duct-taped chicken?

Back in '79 no one thought so. And I can only assume that they were talking about their new pacemaker while cooking 'Stirrable Ham Stew' under foil on the corded telephone to their cousin, Shirl.

Why don't we live dangerously anymore?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday[eve]: You Dirty Rat

I've been hanging out with some cool cats after hours.Anyone else read this bio? It really is swingin'. And it'll drive you to drink - in a good way. Inspiring the return of Tipsy Tuesday, we all have Sammy Davis, Jr. to thank - and his true love.
White Lady
2oz Dry London Gin
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 egg white

Shake. Strain. Pour. Be yourself.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cranberries. Sauced.

What's a cranberry to do in their off season? Well, looky here...They pose. And sculpt.They surf.And it's all in here. If they only knew.

How did you prep your robust, ruby-red fruity friends last week? I got mine sauced.

Cranberry-Orange Relish
1 Bag fresh cranberries
Zest and juice of 2 medium oranges
1/2 Cup water
1/2 Cup sugar [more to taste]

Dissolve sugar in water and orange juice. Add zest. Add cranberries and boil until skin pops [ouch - those poor little fun-loving tarts]. Simmer for 7 minutes - until sauce thickens. Serve chilled or room temp.

Tasty with our without turkey. I'd spoon it on toast.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A feast for the eyes

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, all! From me & Pilgrim John.

I hope your apron is tied tight -- there's lots of slinging to be done in the kitschen over the next 24! I'm thankful that I get to put my feet up -- we're about to hit the road for the holiday. And I'm thankful that you still check in from time to time. And to show my appreciation, I'll be posting all through the holidays!

Enjoy your family this weekend --- see you sooner than you think!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Okay. One of the reasons I've been out of the kitschen so much as of late is my new diet & exercise regime. Essentially, I've been opting to dance my ass off at Jazzercize [talk about retro, right?] and been trying my damnedest to avoid one more beer, one more cookie, one more carb of choice. Well, Nutella nonwithstanding.

So far, I've been pretty half-assed. Heavy on the Jazzercize, light on the healthy eats. So today, I had an hour to burn, a cute blonde helper in an apron and this recipe from the Cheeky Kitchen for baked pumpkin donuts [you're going to have to click for this one, friends, I'm so annoyed I don't want to take the time to type the recipe - ugh].

I love glaze. I love donuts. I love fruity, spicy squash. What could possibly go wrong when I transformed this delicious dough [and Marge & I ate many small bites of this in the raw]:

Into this flat-ass donut?

[girth DOES matter - such is life]

A chewy, crusty, one-dimensional donut. Where did I go wrong? I did learn a lesson from the first batch and pulled the second go-round out ahead of the timer so I could trade the crunch for a cushion-y texture [and so I could treat my fresh mama friend Lesley to a few]. The flavor of the pastry is tasty, and the buttermilk glaze is to die for in a KrispyKreme way. But next time, screw baked. It's a Fry Daddy for this mama.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sorry. I'm a little nuts.

Okay. So there are oodles of reasons/excuses for not blogging so much as of late: the kids, balancing the avon/freelance/creative sources of income biz, the weather, books, and my obsession with sneaking spoonfuls of this blissful blend:How do you take your Nutella?

[psst...next week I'll be back. promise. with tomatoes.]

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hard-boiled Brains

I went back to the Bargain Barn last weekend in Nebraska. And picked up a few pocket books. Here's one of the goodys:
[The American Family Cookbook (c)'69]

And here's a freako recipe I found on page 25:
[like a good horror movie, this pic is best served in black & white]

Goblin Eggs
8 hard-cooked eggs
1/4 cup piccalilli [pickled veggie relish - a delish condiment of the 60s]
1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
16 peppercorns or whole cloves
Green pepper

Cut off part of broad end of each shelled egg. Cut off other end of egg to make a cap for goblin. Scoop out brains [pardon me, yolk] and mash with fork [sicko]; add piccalilli, mayonnaise and mustard. Mix well and refill eggs; replace the top. With paring knife, mark goblin faces into egg white. Arrange peppercorns for [cold, dead] eyes and pieces of green pepper for noses and mouths.

These ought to whet a zombie's appetite for brains. Brains of a clown. On acid.

And I've got to admit. I'm a little scared to try it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Here's a flashy pic of me & T after the party. Forgot to make a photo opp with my Avon bag. And with the kids. Jeez. Guess we were just having WAY too much fun!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Zombie Land

Tonight the fam has been invited to the annual Halloween bash at Amy's. Nellie Loves Vintage, Amy. Her tricks are nothing but treats. This year's theme? The Legend of Spooky Hollow. This year's costumes for the fam? Zombies. We have a few hours left to throw them together. I'm thinking I'll put a twist on last year's costume. Remember this one?
One hint: ding-dong.

Friday, October 15, 2010

WTF?!? Friday: Haunting Dish

WTF?!? is this putrid pie?
And why?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Whoooo wants Avon?

Just a subtle [or not-so] reminder. Last call for this week's Avon orders! As your ding-dong rep, know that I absolutely appreciate your support. So go ahead, CLICK HERE, retro guys & dolls!!
[retro Avon owl decanter of 'Roses, Roses' cologne, scored at an estate sale last weekend - I think it's a sign]

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cooler than Cool

Something is missing from this swell Thermos cooler I scored from my friend's mother-in-law for $3 at her garage sale. You know her as the Highlights lady. I can't even imagine what else she's holding onto from back in the day...It definitely needs some soda-pop, a few Hamm's for daddy and some smartly wrapped sandwiches. Looks like we have a picnic to pack!
Hope you're having a sunny Sunday!

Friday, October 8, 2010

WTF?!? Friday: Table Top

WTF?!? did mom put on the table for lunch?
Beans, franks and something pretty f-ed up!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Highlight of My Week!

My friend's mother-in-law has hung onto her sons' issues of Highlights for years. 37 years, to be exact. So when I saw them in a hasty pile at her garage sale for 10cents per mag, I had to get my hands all over them. Man, has that magazine changed over the years. But this October 1973 issue is just the way I like it, just the way I remember looking it over at the doctor's office on nervous sick days in the 70s.
Here's a Highlights to-do for you: can you match the kids' costumes with their shoes? No peeking at the answers!How about that for a Halloween kickoff? Here's to having fun [with a purpose]!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Butternut Squash [heavy on the butter]

I did it. I got the kids to nosh on squash. It was as easy as 1 + 1: 1 part butter; 1 part brown sugar. And here's how sweet it looked.I think we all got a tiny cavity from just having it on our plates. Here's what I did to achieve the veggie-meets-candy consistency:

Scoop and slice 1 medium butternut squash. Melt 1 stick of butter and 3 T brown sugar over low heat. Toss pierced squash in pan and slide all ingredients into a baking dish. Place on center rack of a 500 degree oven [that would be "fast" or "hot" by retro standards]. Roast for 8 minutes, turn squash and roast 10 minutes more.

Write it off as a serving of vitamin A. And write a check to your dentist for the fillings.

They should serve this on a stick at the county fair, I swear.

How do you take your squash?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday: Brandy [she's a fine girl]

[wouldn't you just dig fetching your bottle of brandy from this bar?]

There's still a nip in the air in the midwest. So a nip of brandy is a must for an after hours warm up.

Brandy Cider
1 1/2oz Brandy
Hot Cider

Using a coffee mug, add ingredients and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

This is a drink you don't have to mull over...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kitschy. Klassy. Kindred. Avon!

Ding-dong! Avon calling!

Honey, it's me. Following in the footsteps of Peg [Dianne Wiest's kitschy character in Edward Scissorshands], with a tube of Pink Flush in hand, I'm launching my own virtual door-to-door biz online.

So I'm encouraging you to go back to your retro roots [I was raised on Avon, I mean, how else could a teen start their freshman year without "Cool Confidence" in their armpits?] and shop around HERE *!

You might even kick-start a fresh round of kitsch for your dressing table, you never know what goody you buy that might end up a cool family collectible that your grandkids are going to covet, like this...
I hope you answer the door when I come knocking. If I see you draw the curtains, I'm gonna loiter!

Thanks for listening. Now, I'll just let myself out...

*[click on the image on the left to go directly to my e-page. orders of $30 or more receive FREE shipping. EVERY time]

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Appetite for Grammar

Just a little 50's feast for the eyes before you start your school week...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Unless you ate a lot of naan back in the 60s. Then it is.

On my quest to get Marge & Ben on the farmer's market veggie love list, I threw together a cheezy treat - that ironically didn't fall flat.
Eggplant Flatbread Pizza
1 small eggplant, sliced thin and quartered
1 small onion, caramelized
1 red pepper, roasted
6 garlic cloves,quartered and roasted
1/4 cup bleu cheese
1/2 cup parmesan
2 'loaves' naan [heck, you can pick it up at Target]

After caramelizing onions, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Saute eggplant. Remove from heat and top naan with all ingredients. Bake in 375 degree oven for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Cool. Cut. Consume. Praise kids for veggie ingestion.

Next up: butternut and sweet dumpling veggie varietals that I hope they don't squash...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday: Hot Cuppa

[I scored this mug at Sparks for 50cents. Some days, I'll admit, I need the reminder!]

Here's a cocktail for a crisp, cool, fall nightcap. And it may just keep you up after hours...

Coffee Royal
1 1/2oz brandy
1 cup hot black coffee

Add brandy to coffee. At this point, you may add sugar to sweeten the taste. This may be garnished with a lemon peel. [Or, you could do whatever the hell you want.] Share one with your favorite Joe.

Monday, September 27, 2010

To Market, To Market

The kids & I swung through the farmer's market this weekend. And I decided to see if I could get them to really dig squash. This week I'm going to forgo their retro canned-green-beans veggie funk by putting eggplant [I know that's not a squash, humor me], butternut & sweet dumpling on the menu.Keep in mind I WANT them to eat their veggies, so I've got to be up front about something: it's highly likely that I will NOT consult my vintage books. I've paged through and have yet to find something that the under 7 crowd would go for. Are you okay with that?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Psycho/Psychadelllic Squirrel

I forgot to tell you. I made another pilgrimage to the Sparks flea market with a few of my favorite, thriftiest friends. As usual, I grabbed, haggled for and schlepped all I could for $20. This was my favorite find. For one dollar. Because Marge is, and forever will be, my squirrel...
...in every adorably psychotic way.

Friday, September 24, 2010

WPF?!? Pfriday

I think we know WTF this is. But isn't it a little, well, phallic?Who would have thought a vegetable would make them blush?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Loafing Around the Kitchen with Calumet

A cool evening and a little Calumet this week made for a bread pudding that was the bee's knees.
Calumet Bread Pudding (c)'20s
2 cups bread crumbs [I cubed them, didn't want the pudding to turn out crummy]
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1/4 level teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon Calumet Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter

Scald milk, pour over crumbs [cubes!]. Let stand until cool. Beat egg thoroughly; add sugar, salt and baking powder well mixed. Combine this mixture with the milk and crumbs [cubes!]; add butter and vanilla. Bake in a buttered baking dish one hour in a slow oven [aka at about 350 degrees]. Serve with Caramel Custard Sauce [I didn't have the patience - as usual I needed instant gratification in the form of Cool Whip]. Raisins may be added to the pudding, if desired.

Caramel Custard Sauce
[aka what I shoulda made]
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 level teaspoons flour
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter

Mix sugar and flour thoroughly. Then add well beaten egg and milk. Place over double boiler and when hot, add butter. Cook until thick and creamy. Serve over the pudding, either hot or cold, if desired.

Thanks for the comfort, Calumet.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday: Sherry Baby

You might impress someone [especially yourself] if you can toss back this cocktail. It may make you more nauseous than tipsy.

Sherry Flip
1 1/2 oz Sherry Wine
1 Whole Egg
1 Teaspoon Sugar

In a blender 1/2 filled with ice, add sherry, egg and sugar. Blend well and strain into a large wine or cocktail glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Gag.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Melamine on a Monday

With my mom's help, I've been amassing quite the melamine collection. Last week we got a taste of fall in the Midwest, so I pulled out the cups, dessert plates and bowls and heaped in peaches, cornbread & chili. Here's the view from where I sat:My collection is about 99% Watertown LifetimeWare. Some days we'll spot it at the Bargain Barn for under a buck. Some days it's well over a dollar at an antique mall. To me it's priceless. And colorful, in a magnificently muted sort of way.

Do you have a stack of melamine on your shelf?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hospital Fare: Get Well Soon

My mom has spent the better part of this week in the hospital having & recovering from a knee replacement. Good news: she's getting well soon. Bad news: as soon as the nausea wore off, they started carting in funky fare tray by tray. Per mom, nearly every breakfast, lunch and dinner display from the cafeteria kitchen includes an item served up in kitschy luxe: on a bed of lettuce.

See for yourself. And guess what's snuggled in the gelatin...

Friday, September 17, 2010

WTF?l? Friday: Bite-sized

WTF are these?!? And would you put one in YOUR mouth?