Monday, May 23, 2016

Beats Going Out!

I think it's really fun to find products that have been around awhile and are still available.  
Hubs and I have been watching a bunch of old black and white commercials lately and one came on for Chef Boyardee Pizza kit in a box.  He was all beside himself with nostalgia for it and on a recent trip to the grocery store...yes, it's still around!
 The above ad is from 1960 and shows a more realistic expectation of what you are going to get.  Beats going out?

  The newer advertisements on the box fronts are a pack of lies, showing a gooey cheesy pizza. That's just their suggestion to 'make it your own' by adding real cheese and toppings. You aren't going to get that with the powdered Parmesan cheese included in the kit.  But the sauce does have built in little pepperonis.
I decided to make the box more awesome by pasting an image of a vintage pizza kit graphic over the front.  Serving suggestion now really looks true to life!

 We first made the pizza 'not making it our own' for these photos.  We then added more cheese and some toppings before actual consumption.  
Verdict: It was really good, and did beat going out since Hubs and I decided to make it "Stay in our jammies and watch MST3K all day Day" when we made this.

Here is the much cuter box front if you decide to cover the modern ugly lies one for yourself!

Friday, May 20, 2016

As-You-Like-It-Cake with Three-Way Frosting

{Good Housekeeping Magazine Oct. 1949}

Easy! Economical!

Even more so since I used the left over batter from the Cake Casserole to bake this!

PB and I staged this photo to look like the original image!  I tried to get him to let me paint his fingernails red but it was a no go.

Once again I did not follow the recipe much.  I didn't even bake the cake part from scratch.  It was the 'extra' from another previous recipe. I also didn't make homemade frosting as it directs.... But I did get to use up the last of the tubs of chocolate and cream cheese icing I had leftover in my fridge!  The recipe calls for an orange flavored icing section but I thought it looked yellow in the photo which translated in my mind as lemon.  As in prefab lemon frosting in the tub! I added a little bit of yellow food coloring to it to boost it's color saturation. As I always say, the recipe is a mere serving suggestion. I see this cake as one would see a casserole or stew to use up leftovers.  Little bits of this and that.  Even the nuts on the cake in the middle section were the last crumbles left in the bag!

Here is the true recipe if you don't have leftover cake and icing hanging around like I did!

Click to enlarge

Recipe image found here

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cake Casserole

"Happy new way to bake your favorite Betty Crocker Cake Mixes!"

A Cake Casserole recipe from 1959?!  You better believe I'll try that! 

This recipe is kinda fun because it makes use of a couple of convenience foods (cake mix and canned fruit) but has the twist of home made-ish with the addition of a stove top sauce.

I didn't completely go by the recipe. I just have to mix it up a bit somehow.  Generally that means I'll be substituting key ingredients with what ever I happen to have on hand.  This then results in my changing the entire intention of the dish. Oh well, I see it as a possible improvement!  I used a can of tropical fruit instead of fruit cocktail.  That is why you see chunks of stuff that looks like sweet potatoes, it's really papaya, pineapple, and passion fruit.  I also used coconut milk in place of the water and threw some shredded coconut in the cake batter.  And I used a french vanilla cake mix instead of a yellow cake mix...  And I added a few dashes of cinnamon to the fruit sauce... The recipe is really just a serving suggestion in my mind.

"Serve your creation hot and heavenly, right from the oven, in your prettiest casserole.  
Someone's going to love you for this!"

It turned out tasting pretty good even if it looks more like a vegetable stew casserole pot pie kinda thing.  My version would be perfect to serve as an April Fool's meal as 'dinner'.   See if the fam loves you for that!

Notice that the recipe only uses 1 cup of cake batter.  Stay tuned to see what I did with the rest of it! 



Place drained 16-oz. can of fruit salad in 1 1/2-quart casserole. Make sauce: combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp. cornstarch. Slowly add juice from fruit plus water to make 1 cup and boil 1 minute, stirring. Add 2 tbsp. butter and 1 tsp. nutmeg. Pour sauce over fruit. Top with one cup prepared yellow cake mix batter. Bake 50 to 60 minutes at 350˚.

Bake rest of batter in 9" square pan 30 to 35 minutes.

Recipe found here

Monday, May 09, 2016

Pointie Cutie Kittie

Meet Pointie Cutie Kittie! and he is a widdle adorawable dowling!

Hubs asked me if I could make something as a gift for a work friend of his that is expecting a baby boy in the very near future.
I happened to come across the free pattern for pointy kitty while looking for ideas.

side view.

Yes I did. Cat butt.  Not a feature on the original pattern.

The main fabric was left over from an apron I made waaay back.

The original pattern for Pointy Kitty had a less expressionistic mug.  I love how his face came out and all the whiskery bits I added.
To date this is the most involved stuffed critter I have made.  It came together fairly well with the only problems being ones I brought on myself.  I wound up pushing through/splitting the seams on two legs and had to unstuff him and then restitch the legs.  This meant the newly stitched leg was now shorter than it's partner...which meant I had to unstuff everything and redo all the ends of the legs so he wouldn't be wobbly.  He actually is still a bit off but we can blame his imbalance on his melon sized head.  His adorawable melon sized head.

Here are a few posts on crafted baby paraphernalia or stuffed critters that I have made in the past.  Lots of socks were involved:

Cockroach embellished baby sleeper
Super Baby Bib
Scrap Crafty Baby Monster Plush
Sock Stuffies
Sock Skellie
Baby Sock Bunny
Narwhal Friend

Thursday, May 05, 2016


Happy Cinco de Mayo!
For years I dreamed of going to Mexico.  In my mind all the streets looked like the above image.  Mariachi bands on every corner dressed in full splendor.  Beautiful towering cacti among the ancient ruins.  Lovely quaint open air markets of handmade taxidermy frogs playing poker.

I then realized I was really thinking about the Mexican Pavilion at Epot!  I have a feeling true Mexico is nothing like what I imagine, not unless it was 1963.

 We do love collecting vintage Mexican souvenirs, records, and lots of cacti to landscape the 'ancient ruins' of the inside of our home.  We also LOVE Mexican food.  I pulled all of this together and we had a little fiesta for Cinco De Mayo.

 I used some of the records as place savers.  We didn't eat on them but I can see having copies made of the covers and then getting them laminated...then we could use them as place mats.  For dinner I made a Mexican layer dip with tortilla chips.

Here is a funny story about my layer dip.  It's nothing too special ...refried beans, taco seasoned ground turkey or vegetable crumbles if you got them, melty white cheese, black olives, tomatoes, sour cream and green onions. 

The key ingredient is I like to use refried black beans.  I had a friend several years ago that was an excellent cook and really liked making Mexican food.  He was also a vegetarian (ate dairy).  I told him I had a really good dip that I made and it was vegetarian at that! 

  So I made the dip and it was yummy as usual.  My friend then looked at the ingredients on the can of the refried beans.  He says, "Well no wonder it tastes so good Mary!!! There is LARD in it!"   I love that story.

For dessert, I invented a Cinnamon Cream Cheese Empanada recipe.  The crust is Jiffy pie crust mix which I cut into rounds.  I then spooned a dollop of cream cheese that I had mixed powdered sugar and cinnamon in. How much powdered sugar and cinnamon? I don't know, just to taste.  Then folded over the top, pressed the edges and jabbed the tops with fork tines.  I baked them at 350 degrees until the crust was done.  How long is that?  I don't know, just don't burn them. I then drizzled them with cream cheese frosting (prefab from the tub) that I microwaved a few seconds.  Afterwards, sprinkle with cinnamon and colorful sprinkles.  They turned out muy delicioso!

 For our beverages I made Faux-garitas.  I made that word that up.  It's just chilled limeade that I put inside a cool tequila bottle we had saved.  I garnished the glass rim with red sugar and a lime wedge.

And the fun part about these bebidas is everyone gets a worm in the bottom of their glass!  
A gummy worm that is!

For a past fiesta I did for Teacher Appreciation see here

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Han Solo In Jellonite

 The boys in the family are major Star Wars fans.  I like some stuff like Hoth, the Millennium Falcon, and ATATs but really I am only there for Han Solo.  For Star Wars Day, May the Fourth (be with you), I made us a Han Solo in Jellonite dessert.

 The original jello was clear but a berry flavor.  I added silver sugar sprinkles to the mix while it was still hot and to my surprise specs of metallic bits remained.  I also added a dab of black dye trying to make it more grey. I could have added more dabs.  The color kinda turned out looking like he is taking a bubble bath.  I molded it in a loaf pan but even more fun would be to have several Hans and make the jellonite in mini individual loaf pans. A Han Solo for everyone!

I have a fondness for Star Wars because it reminds me of PB when he was younger.  For many of the early years of elementary school he was a Star Wars nut.  He had enough Star Wars shirts to go over a week without washing.  My husband has an immense nostalgia for Star Wars.  He was a kid when it was all happening.  You can imagine how much fun it was for my husband to collect Star Wars and play with them again with PB.  So I have to celebrate the day in some way.  I now have nostalgia for it too.

For more Star Wars, these are the posts you are looking for:

Monday, May 02, 2016

It has been decided in your favor...

Hubs and I just celebrated out 2nd wedding The Twilight Zone.

I really love doing stuff in themes.  Last year for our first wedding anny I themed our little party Las Vegas and circus-esque since we got married in Vegas and stayed at Circus Circus. (see here!)

This year I was a bit all over the place with it.  There were actually three themes: Alfred Hitchcock, Twilight Zone, and another that I will reveal later because it hasn't happened just yet.

The Twilight Zone theme was something I came up with to use as a little wedding anny photo idea.  One of our favorite episodes of the Twilight Zone is Nick of Time.  It is about a newlywed couple that stop in a small town and become trapped there because of the husband's superstitions with a fortune telling napkin dispenser, the Mystic Seer, in a local diner. Newlyweds, superstition, and a creepy fortune telling machine....Perfect! 

A still from the episode.  Forgot to mention, William Shatner plays the husband!

For the first photo we incorporated a coke bottle with our last name on it.
I thought it would make a cute prop for the diner photos.  I smeared out the name for this photo but you know those personalized bottles that coke was doing for a promotion.  Just insert a last name on it,  Addams will do.

We already had a replica of the Mystic Seer fortune teller.  

" Will we make it another year without throwing live chickens at one another?"

Whew!  Thank goodness, I ain't got ten dollars to pay the fine! 

As a side note, apparently the "Mystic Seer" was a real thing!

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Alfred Hitchcock Shower Hour

Just taking a shower,  singing my favorite song.  Hmmm... I don't recall the beat being "weeemp, weeemp, weeemp....."

Good evening.
This year is mine and Hubs second wedding anny.  I like to try to come up with gifts to give or make for him that correlate with the 'Anniversary Gifts by the Year' deal... 1st is paper,  and second is cotton.

For this year I came up with these Alfred Hitchcock film posters fabric embellished wash clothes!
Wash clothes for an anniversary present?  I know, it is a bit of an odd gift.

I found the material in town at a local fabric shop that always has super cool prints.  
Here is an image of the other film panels on the fabric.  It is made by Robert Kaufman.

I could see a whole bathroom decorated in an Alfred Hitchcock theme, particularly Psycho. A bath towel ensemble with fake blood splatter, little bars of hotel soaps on the counter, framed photographs of men dressed in old lady clothes...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Use The Force Harry! Time Capsule Birthday Party

Diary of a Wimpy Kid members look on as cows are abducted by aliens.  
A Big Foot creature sports a pirate patch, the one ring, and a Gryffindor scarf .

For PB's birthday party this year he decided to go a bit "low key". This being his first year in middle school it was inevitable that this was coming.  The era of elaborate themed parties with bunches of kids running around in super capes or wizards ropes has come to an end.  It is a bitter sweet thing for me.  A highlight of my life for the past several years has been planning and making everything for PB's birthday parties but it is a ton of work.  I am actually looking forward to "low key''.  But this doesn't mean a plain old boring cake and balloons.  No, no, that will never do.  This year the low key meant it was a party for just the three of us but there certainly was still going to be a theme! I saw this birthday as an end to an era (last year before becoming a teenager) and thought a Time Capsule theme would be perfect!

Another Big Foot creature models a Lord of the Rings cloak and X-ray vision glasses.  Cheering the party on in the windows are Orcs along with little western cowboys and Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.

We went through all of the items we had saved from past parties to use as decorations.
Here is a break down of each party theme PB has had:
1. Western Cowboy
2.  Hot Rod
3. Thomas the Train
4.  Pirates
5. Army
6.  Star Wars
7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
8.  Harry Potter
9. Lord of The Rings
10.  Vintage Comic books
11. In Search of...

I have not written a post about all of his parties.  I may one day.  That Star Wars party was epic.

A vintage comic book cover birthday banner hangs over a portrait of Dumbledore and the Sorting Hat.  C3PO shows his pirate side while several plastic army tanks battle it out with plastic cowboys.  

We had at least a couple of items to represent every year.

Several banners and decor hang representing Star Wars, In Search Of..., Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and vintage comic books.  UFO ships swarm the area as paratroopers access the scene. 

Generally for his parties the whole house and yard are required to carry out the theme and it's trappings.  I low-keyed it this year by only decorating the dining room.

I used a few of the leftover 'go home goodies' bags to put his gifts in.

 I made some of the snacks that were his favorites from several different parties.  Harry Potter-Sorting Hats (Bugles), Lord of the Rings-Poh Tay Toes (tater tots), In Search of...-Saturn Rings (Funyuns), Lord of The Rings-Gollum's Goodies (Swedish Fish).

In Search Of...-Spaghetti Monsters (hot dogs with noodles through them), Star Wars-Chewbacca Hairballs (chocolate chow mien noodle treats), In Search Of...-Big Foot Toes (Nutter Butter cookies with chocolate icing decoration).

The Cake
I spent a fair amount of time planning and making the cake.  I wanted it to have representations of all of PB's past party themes but not look random.  I decided to make it kinda tell a story.
The main part of the cake is the ATAT that was his cake stand for his Star Wars birthday party.  My stepdad built the structure and base and my mom made the original cake.  It was phenomenal. 

The front of the cake has a Harry Potter scar and a Pirate eye patch. Commanding the super cape wearing ATAT are a pair of green aliens.

The army men are wearing aluminum foil helmets to protect their thoughts from aliens while the Batmobile is available for a quick get away.  Just trace the steps on the Marauder's Map.

Hot Rods have been hastily abandoned on train tracks or flipped in all the commotion.  The ATAT has claimed a victim.

PB used "Sting", his Lord of the Rings sword to put an end to all the destruction..also known as cutting the cake.

Here is an extensive list of links to Past PB Parties:

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sack of Monkeys in my Pocket!

Our local PBS station has recently incorporated the national recognized "PBS Nerd" programming into it's line up!  One of the programs they are going to be showing every Saturday night is reruns of old MST3K!  
To kick everything off they hosted a free screening of Pod People at their studios.

Another local Mstie nerd loaned their handmade bots for photo opportunities for the occasion!

Of course I had to get some photos of myself with the bots.  Our camera is starting to really crap out on us so these aren't the best photos, sadly. To make them look better I put them in Polaroid camera framage, because that always looks awesome!

Here are The Mads invention exchange seen on the Big Screen!
Public Domain Karaoke Machine!
Hits like...
 Battle Hymn of the Republic
Ba Ba Black Sheep
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

We brought PB with us to the screening and he LOVED it!  We hadn't really started introducing him to much MST3K just yet.  But we have been training him for it for years.  We have him watch certain old shows/movies/old commercials that we like and that just so happen to be always referenced on the MSTed good parents should.  Soon the pieces will all be put together and we will have created a mini MSTiE!!!! 

Yes, the boy has been walking around all week since saying:
"It Stinks!"

A very proud moment in a parent's life.

And for another Movie Sign moment see here...(I met The Mads!!!!!)