Sunday, January 19, 2020

It's National Popcorn Day!

"Oh! what fun. popcorn cake."

Being the snarky type, I read that line in my mind with a deadpan monotone voice.
But if we read on (see below ad), it appears Wrigley's gum is saying, "No!  Really!!  Everybody LOVES popcorn!"

Maybe that's why there's a national holiday set aside to honor the humble exploded kernel.  What could be better than to combine it with peanuts, chocolate, and cake?!  After all, popcorn can be as bland as stale cotton balls on it's own.

This idea for Popcorn Cake comes from the fine folks of Wrigley's chewing gum.
There's a recipe on the ad (click for enlargement) but I did my own thing.  It made sense to me to use a butter cake mix to compliment the buttered and salted popcorn.  I also used salted chopped peanuts to amp up the salty/sweet aspect.  I don't care for prefab chocolate icing so I tried making my own.  I always have powdered cocoa on hand so I used this recipe for the frosting.  I wouldn't recommend it for a cake like this that you have to stick stuff to it because it dries like a glaze, even though the photo from the site clearly shows us a creamy texture.  Hershey's, why you got to be a liar?  But, I will say the "frosting" is really rich and yummy, just keep in mind your sprinkles are going to bounce right off.  I put the extra frosting in the fridge and it firmed up into the most delicious fudge!  That's what I would use it for again for sure!  Another tip is to put the popcorn on right before eating (using a true creamy and sticky chocolate frosting).  I put mine on a couple of hours before serving it because I could see the icing was not going to allow any stickage when served later that evening.  This resulted in the popcorn becoming chewy and that ain't a characteristic you want your popcorn to take on, that's best for the gum.  The butter cake with the chopped peanuts and chocolate frosting was "delicious to eat" and "all loved it", so Wrigley's did get that right.  And it really is "inviting to look at"!

There are a bunch of these recipes from Wrigley's in old 1950s home magazines.
I always find them odd, being from a gum company but no gum is involved in the making.  The recipes are always weird enough on their own without the gum though.

Here is a Wrigley's recipe I did back in 2006 for a Huge Wedge O' Pie.

Enjoy another popcorny post of the past:
National Popcorn Day 2018: Jiffy Pop Fridge Magnet DIY Craft

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Cherry Crown Cake

Very cruel of me to follow up a diet post with one of a luscious cherry cake!  However the cake is actually one I made for a Christmas dinner but didn't have the chance to shove it into the already 57 posts I did for December.  I thought it would be a great cake to serve for Valentine's Day or even President's Day if that's your thing!

This recipe is called "Cherry Crown Cake" and it was one of the winners from the 1965 16th Pillsbury Grand National Bake Off Contest.   

(click on image for recipe enlargement)

This cake is absolutely scrumptious!   The only problem I had with it was the frosting.  It did not make nearly enough to cover the entire cake, also it was very flimsy and didn't want to stay up on the cake.  The photo from the original recipe showing creamy stiff icing is a lie.  I happened to have some leftover cream cheese frosting in the freezer so I mixed the two together.  The cherry pie filling on the top was also trying to run down the sides so I piped a border on the edge to fence it in!  I would recommend doing the frosting first and then adding the top of cherries for this reason.
I just noticed!  The recipe says the can of cherry pie filling should be chilled!  That would have helped I bet!  And maybe I didn't let the frosting "completely cool" enough to Ann pillsbury's liking.....  But I'm too busy for all of these little nuances!  In the end the cake tasted divine, even if it didn't look just like the serving suggestion in the photo.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Weight of all Flesh

With it being the new year, tons of people follow the trend of getting on a diet and starting a gym membership..."new year, new me!" Of course within a couple of months they have gained 10 pounds extra and have nestled themselves back into their worn out divot in the couch.  After all, it's not January anymore and that was the trendy time to boast about getting into shape.

I find myself refocusing my intentions on weight loss in January, not for a "new me", but because I have eaten so many yummy, carb loaded goodies over the holidays and January happens to be the end to all the fun.

To give the dieting folks out there something enjoyable to look at and not eat, I thought I would
share a few images from a neat little diet book from 1953 that we picked up at the library book sale last year.  

There aren't too many illustrations but this one is pretty great!  No mention about who the artist is.

The book has the typical info on weight loss:  calorie reduction and portion control.  It also has several menus to follow that I always think are setting people up to fail.  No one wants just a half of grapefruit for breakfast or liver for lunch.  The food choices they offer are the kind of things that are used as cruel and unusual punishment....beets, onion slices, melba toast, and 1 butter cookie!

I did find one gem of real truth in the "exercise" section of the book:
""Exercising for weight reduction is a pretty futile task.  It takes a tremendous amount of sustained exercise to lose weight that will stay off.  Several miles of running are required to take off the weight put on by the whipped cream on your dessert.  The only way to loss weight and keep it off is by reducing the calorie intake. 
Exercising to keep fit, improve posture, and tighten up flabby muscles is certainly beneficial.  While you will not lose pounds through this means, you may find that toned up muscles and improved posture will make you appear slimmer and make your clothes fit better."

This is all so true.  I lost 15 pounds last year and it was all by food choices.  I absolutely hate exercising just to exercise.  I don't mind going for a walk to enjoy the fresh air or when cleaning the house being more boisterous with it but I'm not getting on a boring ass treadmill. 

The book does give a few examples of exercises to do daily.  Nothing too strenuous, mostly stretches.  But the most beneficial exercises are shown below:

Well I'm off to munch on some carrot sticks, which I will pretend are bland Kit Kats!

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Stitchy New Year!

...To all of you needles, pins, and pricks!

I've got to gather up all the holiday notions around here so I'll be busy bobbin and zig zagging for a bit.  Button I'll zipper back here in a snap!


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Christmas Wrapped Up

"Well I don't know what to say except it's Christmas and we're all in misery!"
~Ellen Griswold
National Lapoon's Christmas Vacation

I thought you all might get a kick out of the top photo.  It's what happened to my perfect rows of Santas when they all decided to flip off the top of the china cabinet in a hyper speed domino effect, pulling each other down the backside by their connecting light string.  I managed to grab them from hitting the ground and had to place them in a jumble until I had a few extra hands to sort them out.

This season was a hectic one. We had some of the family going out of town for the holidays and then we were asked to do "Christmas" with a two day notice early in December.  We obviously weren't going to have gifts done at that point so now we have to get together yet again after the holidays.  For some people out there who enjoy their loved ones this would not be a problem but we have a particular member on this side that loves to bitch and whine and make everyone miserable.  Last year she said it could be her last Christmas and then again told that to us this year.   She doesn't really believe this, it's just her martyr motto.  I've just come up with a great gift idea for her!  A holiday shirt all decked out in red and green, with the saying "This could be my last Christmas" printed across the front in the same fun font that one would have 'Seasons Greetings"!
The holiday decorating really kicked my ass this year, taking nearly a full week to complete.  I think I am at the point of max capacity on holiday decor, which is a bit sad to me since I love to collect it.  I'll have to let some stuff go if I want to add any more.  A friend of mine and I are planning to have a big craft sale next year with a focus on vintage Christmas so at least I can enjoy finding fun pieces for that over the next year, without adding to my hoard.   Mr. Husband and I had a good time doing some after Christmas shopping at all the thrift stores in our town and even the next one over, hunting down wonky and random Christmas stuffs. I don't find too many mid century vintage Christmas items anymore at thrift stores anyway.  For the sale I am going to be leaning more toward the tackiness of the late century, 1970-90s, lots of bears and granny crochet!  
I was thinking about what is my real problem with December, and it's that I have two full time work loads: Christmas and everything else I do as a housewife.  I have discussed this with Mr. Husband and next year in December I am not washing dishes or making dinners, he will be. Which works out that I'll only have to rewash half the dishes and the walls and counter tops that will be splashed with food, but this is still a help for me.
Every year I usually find myself so overwhelmed I am proclaiming quite loudly that I hate Christmas, at least this year I never said that but did tell a cashier at the grocery store I was a woman on the edge.
All and all, the holiday wasn't that bad.  We had friends over for dinner who were amazed (not horrified) by our overwhelming holiday decor, we watched all of our favorite movies, and ate a lot of cookies and treats, diet be damned.
 And of course I am already making plans for next year so I guess I haven't been disgusted enough to give up on the holiday just yet.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Oscar the Grouchy

It has now become my favorite holiday hunt to find a funny gift for my grandpa.  He is known as a grouchy old man to most but he is actually really funny with a grouchy sense of humor.  He isn't the kind of person that is easy to shop for but I started last year taking a humorous approach to selecting his gift.  I was pretty stoked to find this latch hooked Oscar the Grouch wall hanging as his gift this year!  Perfect!

Last year I happened to come across a cute ceramic Lil Stinker Skunk for him that I filled with Tootsie Rolls.  I probably look forward to him opening his gift more than any other one I give because I know he will have a funny grouchy comment about it!

"What's this? The Grinch? Or Oscar the Grouchy?  Did you make this?"

He held it up to the wall of the living room so I wouldn't put it past him to hang it right there next to his couch!  The Grouch Couch!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Log Loaves and Fireplaces

image source

For this year's baked goods gifts for fam and friends I was inspired by the above image from Farm Journal 1965.  Little cardboard fireplaces filled with baked nibbles and a bonus decoration on the mantle.  The originals have an oven door kinda flap to stash the goods behind, but I thought it would be more clever if the baked good was exposed and yule log looking.  I could not find brick printed paper in town and the effort it would have taken to make my own would have been a dullard thing to do for something that is going to go in the recycle can on Dec. 26.

So thinking outside the box and of course on the cheap, I happened to find a roll of wrapping paper that was double sided, with red and black buffalo check ( it's brick-ish to me!) on one side and a red/black wood grain on the opposite side.  Perfect!  The paper is made by Hallmark and I found it at Walsmart for about 2.50 for the roll.  I was able to get perfect sized boxes for free from the grocery store while they were restocking the Lean Cuisines.  I cut the icicles from a long strip of white paper and hot glued it on.  The andirons are just black paper.  I also included in the back of the fireplace a copy of the recipe for the loaf.  I made a couple from Pillsbury Bake Offs from 1949 and 1951, but those are gonna have to be posts for another time.
I thought it would be fun if the stockings hanging from the mantle were also the gift tag.  I free hand cut them from scrapbook paper and added a letter sticker to the front.  All of the mantle decorations were different.  I made them from little bits and bobs I bought from thrift stores.
 I made 6 of these but here are the two I was able to get photographed before folks took off with them.

The last K and L are two precious boston terriers that belong to D and L.  I stashed a little sack of doggy treats in the fireplace back for them!

This one doesn't have it's loaf in it because it hadn't happened yet.

For the topper on this mantle I decided to glue it all to a rectangle of cardboard wrapped in paper so it could be plucked off and used in the future as a bit of a Christmas decor centerpiece.

If I had thought of it sooner it would have been fun to place an electric/battery powered flame light shining behind the loaf logs!

I told everyone we gave one of these to not to feel they have to keep the whole contraption.  It's all cardboard and paper and I did that on purpose so it could be easily recyclable.  I found out that my mom and grandmother carefully unwrapped their loaves to save the paper so they can set up their fireplaces next year!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Tacky Sweater Stockings

I usually can manage to coerce PB into making Christmas presents each year, but it's getting harder and harder.  I came up with a fun idea this year for his cousins that at least I got a kick out of.
Tacky Sweater Stockings!

I know that the tacky sweater trend is out wearing it's welcome but I still think it's great.  I was into tacky before it was hip so now I can still enjoy it and just look outdated but at least not a complete mental case anymore.

I happened to see these sweater stockings at dollar tree (before below) and thought the idea to tacky them up was beyond brilliant.  So brilliant I can't be the first to have thought to do this but I do lead a very sheltered life.

I bought the red and green non-sparkly pom poms and felt sticker letters at dollar tree also.  I mixed up the red and black letters to add to the tacky wonkiness.  The other bits are out of a few bags of random uglish ornaments I picked up for cheap at thrift stores.

While we were working on the stockings PB kept telling me we were wasting our time because his cousins weren't going to appreciate them or get what they were. I think we could have added a few more bits and bobs to the stockings but we decided to use some restraint since we didn't know if they were going to go over well. But surprise!  It turned out they really liked them!

The stockings were just the 'wrapping' though.
For the stocking stuffers, PB filled them with his favorite candies, Ramune soda, and ramen noodles from a local Asian market.

If you are looking for more gaudy, check out my past post:
Tacky holidays to you!


Friday, December 27, 2019

Jell-O Jingle Jells

{From Chatelaine Magazine 1959}

With all the heavy sugar laden desserts and cookies we have had around the house I decided to put together something more on the light side, a Jell-O dessert called Jingle Jells!  I used sugar free Jell-O and sugar free cool whip.  I made the mistake of not following the directions (which sound like Jell-O Jigglers) and didn't make my jello firm enough to hold the bell shapes easily.  I wound up having to put my bells in the freezer to firm them up.  While I was in the freezer a more efficient person would have remembered to take the cool whip out to defrost but no.  My whipped topping is not beautiful and fluffy because I had to ...microwave it... for a few seconds to defrost it, so it turned out a touch runny.
  It's a simple concoction but the holiday hectic hell has gotten me to the point I can't even make Jell-O right.
It tasted just fine though, damn it.

A tip that the Jell-O folks didn't let on about is how to keep the red side red and the green side green.  
To keep them separated I had PB hold a plate vertically in the middle of the bowl while I scooped equal amounts of 
jell-o on each side.  Once full just slip the plate out! 

{click on image to enlarge for recipe}

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Christmas Tree Cake

Even with it being after Christmas, and 51 posts for December at this point...I still have more Christmas!!!

The next few posts are some of the edibles and craftables I pulled together for the holidays.

First is this cute little tree cake (about 10 inches tall) that PB helped me make and decorate.

It was from a set of vintage pans I picked up from a thrift a few years back.  The instruction sheet was included and had a recipe for making just enough batter for one complete cake tree.  We actually wound up making two of these trees for different functions because they come together pretty quickly and are fun to decorate.  I bet the same idea could be accomplished with 3 small round pans.  Maybe a potted meat tin, a canned chicken tin, and a large tomato can with only half of it filled with batter?  Or for fancy folks 3 small cake pans in graduating size. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Fa! La!! La! La!!

Merry Christmas from the Sugar Plums!
Performing every open mic night at The Saints punk club in downtown Chumuckla, Al!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas with the Colonel

Our Christmas tree theme this year is
Christmas with the Colonel!

Under the tree we placed our KFC collectibles.  A vintage postcard from Sanders Court and Cafe, vintage sporks and napkin, Colonel Sanders Pop doll, and a vintage "Christmas with Colonel Sanders" record.

Check out the rest of the deep fried goodness!

KFC holiday bucket for 2019. Super cute graphics on it, all neat Colonel Sanders items or chicken related!  Apparently if you snap a pic of your favorite item and post it on some social media site you could actually win that item!!!! 

I personally like the fried chicken curtains the best!

Square dance Colonel ties, images of vintage Christmas KFC buckets, lids, and Colonel Claus.

I carved about 12 pieces of fried chicken out of styrofoam.  Also put a bunch of mini rubber chickens on the tree (see top of photo).

A Sanders Angel for the top of the tree.
 I made him from a print of a vintage plastic bank and added a gold pipe cleaner halo and chicken feather wings.

The whole 12 piece Meal Deal!
I should have made some gravy garland!

Here we are back in 2017 at the Louisville Welcome center hanging with a wax Sanders!

Snack on some past deep fried KFC related bonus morsels:

Wishing You Kentucky Fried Christmas 2017

National fried chicken day 2015
Kentucky Fried Wigwam Night 2016

Chicken in trick-or-treat bucket 2017
A finger lickin' good pumpkin 2018

Will you be my chicken-tine? 2018
Fried Chicken Valentine Bouquet 2019

Kentucky Fried Vacation 2018

Finger Lickin' Good Wreath

Chicken on the front porch!

I continued our "Christmas with the Colonel" onto the front door wreath. 
Print outs of vintage images and sporks.

Also made a Santa Sanders delivering a sack of fried chicken to all the good girls and boys!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Xmas Decor 2019

 This year's holiday decor has definitely overstuffed my kitschy Christmas stocking!  
Here are a few views of the dining room.

And the living room:

The Santa Shrine.

Robots attacking the Atomic Town.

Elf Shelf.

A corner near the back door that typically doesn't get decorated but since the collection has expanded so much, Christmas has now oozed to farther regions of the house!

The green shelf full of Christmas cheer!

Just when I think I can't do more or add more I find a way.  Since taking these pictures I have added silver garland to the front of the shelf edges and this area is now all super sparkly!

There are a few other spots I didn't get a chance to photo but jeez, isn't this enough?!
Too much?!

It's Christmas so I say the tackier and more overdone the better!
Maybe next year I'll look into carpeting my house in fake snow!