Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Cookin' in the Kitchen

As I mentioned in the previous post, we stayed in Andy Griffith's Homeplace located in Mount Airy (Mayberry) North Carolina last summer.  
Besides the awesomeness of staying in the house, it also has a super cute kitchen!  And vintage oven!

So of course there must be staged photos! With aprons! With baked goods! With my hair fixed!

My mom and I baked a cake in the oven for the occasion! 
I brought along one of my vintage Mirro bunt pans and a cake mix in a bag.  It's the craziest thing but so perfect for this situation.  It's complete cake batter sold in a foil pouch, no refrigerator needed, I happened to find it at Winn Dixie.  I wanted to bake something but didn't want to deal with traveling with eggs and various other perishables.  And the best part is the cake is super good!  I also brought some powdered sugar to sprinkle on top.
But first we have to sift the powdered sugar!

My mom and I posing with our Andy home baked cake.  My mom is wearing a vintage dress and a vintage necklace that was a wardrobe piece from The Mary Tyler Moore show!

And look!  While flipping through all of those old magazines in Andy's house I found an ad for Mirro pans!  The one I used is the bunt pan next to the electric skillet.
Another neat thing that came out of this little photo shot is I used the photos of myself as kind of a resume' to get involved with the Apron Strings museum show.
The museum liked my photos so much they asked me to pose again to be used as part of the display.  That lead to my being the featured collector and co-curating the entire show!

See more on that below:
Apron Strings~Ties To Past Part I
Apron Strings~ Ties To Past Part II
Apron Strings~ Ties To Past Part III

More Andy vacation trip coming up!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Andy's Homeplace

Our whole family loves the Andy Griffith Show. We could watch it everyday...actually we kinda do.  We have visited Mount Airy, NC (Mayberry) on several occasions.  Every time we go, I look for something additional to add to the experience.  Last summer was the highest point.

We stayed the night in Andy Griffith's Home Place in Mt. Airy (aka Mayberry) North Carolina!

I planned a family trip loaded with fun stops, experiences, local eatries, and photo ops squeezed into 3 days.  Those posts all to follow!

The Andy Griffith Homeplace is the house Andy Griffith lived in with his parents from the time he was 6 years old until he was 18 and went to college.  Which by my calculations would make the house built around 1935.  His parents lived there until 1966.

Framed in the house is a newspaper article of Andy Griffith's parents sitting in the front yard of the house.  It states that most of the furnishings were given to the Salvation Army when they moved!  

The house is still decorated in some vintage furniture and decor though.  Here are a few images:
The Living Room.

Stacks of old magazines.  My mom and I spent several hours reading them...while watching the Andy Griffith Show of course!  The house has the entire collection on DVD for guests to watch.

We even found a recipe for Nesselrode Pie in one of them!!!


While I looking into staying at the Andy Griffith Homeplace I came across an image of the kitchen.  I was so excited!  This kitchen became a big reason why I wanted us to stay in the house. More on that later.  I wish I would have gotten a photo without the ugly eye sores (microwave, coffee maker, etc.)!

The oven...YES! It works and guests are encouraged to use it! More on that later too!

This is the wallpaper we found in the broom cupboard.

The backyard has a little picnic area and grill.  It also has a small deck off of the back of the house with a cafe style dining table.  Perfect for sitting and doing nothing except sipping on a bottle of pop.

PB protecting the property in the front yard.  He found this toy rifle hanging on the wall in the house and went out to shake his fist at possible intruders.  There are tons of cars that drive by on official and unofficial tours.  We even had people come up to the door and try to open it!  Those would be unofficials not respecting our privacy.

The house has a dining room, two bedrooms, and one bathroom.  
 I liked this ceiling light fixture that was in a pass-through area off of the kitchen.
Every room has little cute touches and vintage/antique items.

At the front door entry is a guest book where people can write down their Mayberry memories and what not. Framed on the wall is an autograph from when Andy stayed in the house in 2002.  Lots of framed prints of Mayberry citizens.  There is a bird cage in the dining room with three fake birds (Wynken, Blynken, and Nod) which is a reference to the episode Opie the Birdman.  Lots of neat stuff!

Stay tuned... More virtual vacation coming up!
I have about 10 posts that outline this trip!  

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Did you hear?!

No?  Well then go find a big ol' industrial sized Q-tip and get the wax out of yer ear!
It's time to light a candle...

Happy Birthday to Mr. Paul Reubens!
(I happen to be a wee bit of a fan!  See below for confirmation.)

As a small tribute I thought I would share a few of my vintage Pee-wee collectibles today.  I have received most of them over the last couple of years as gifts from Hubbs.  He is okay with Pee-wee being the other man in my life.

On the left is a 1987 Talking Pee-wee Herman 18'' doll.   By talking I mean he says stuff like
"Gejusgbvfjbkjdfn!" and "Hkjasourkdklasnd!"  Which clearly translates to " Hello, I'm Pee-wee Herman!" and "I know you are but what am I?"   He has a pull string on his back that when released he sounds like the chipmunks on 78 record speed.

My most recent item I have been gifted is the Pee-wee's Playhouse Colorforms play set.  It is still sealed but that won't last for long.

Box of Pee-wee's Playhouse Fun Paks 1988

This is a box nearly full of sealed trading card packets.  Each packet has 1 sheet of tattoos, 3 picture cards, stickers, 1 wiggle card, and 1 activity card.   The wiggle card is one of those lecticular deals that looks like the image is moving when you tilt it back and forth.  The activity card to me is the best!  The one shown above near the bottom is called a Playhouse Foldie.  When the card is folded different ways it can make Pee-wee have Miss Yvonne's bottom half along with another character mixed in depending how you fold it.  There are other activity cards that you punch out pieces and can make stuff like a flying paper Pee-wee or Pterri. We have opened about 5 packs so far, just on special occasions like birthdays.  I'll have to make a post with scans of the cards one day.  The graphics and art are awesome!

Pee-wee's Playhouse View Master Gift Set 1988

Hubbs got this for me on our first wedding anny.  It was MIB sealed before I 'ruined' it by opening the package!  I wanted to LOOK and SEE in 3D!

Billy Baloney 18" Puppet 1988

Billy Baloney actually belongs to PB.  Of course he is a PW fan as well!  Hubbs and I happened to find Billy at the flea market last year and gave him to PB for Christmas.  Billy Baloney was his favorite gift (other than cold hard cash!).  Billy hangs out on the couch most of the time always ready to sass one of us!

Pee-wee and his pal, Billy Baloney hanging out together as seen on the side of the box.

Here is Billy out of his restraints.  We play with our toys in this house!

PB loves Billy so much that he accompanied him to school for a 6th grade history presentation.  PB was portraying Edward Jenner (1749-1823) the pioneering medical doctor who invented the small pox vaccination.  Billy got to play the role of young James Phipps, an 8 year old boy who was the first person to be inoculated with the vaccine.  Both PB and Billy dressed the part!  It was really cute.

This concludes my present collection of Pee-wee vintage merch but certainly not to be the last of it!

Back to more important matters!

By now you all should have those candles lit and placed in a big bowl of ice cream soup, faces scotch-taped into an interesting expression, and your favorite pair of giant size underpants on your head....because it's Paul Reubens birthday and Pee-wee would want it that way!

For more Pee-wee Fun stuff see my other posts:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Briscoe Darling Larrapin Blueberry Muffins

"We're known as a family of hearty eatin' men and beautiful delicate women."
Briscoe Darling

We are hardcore TAGS (The Andy Griffith Show) fans.  We stick to watching the black and white episodes though.  After Barney left it all kinda fell apart... Aunt Bee starts flying planes and Andy opens up a laundry-mat.
I love to make what I call "Mayberry Menus": Foods inspired by TAGS episodes.
I have a really neat cook book called Aunt Bee's Mealtime in Mayberry.  It takes several episodes of TAGS that have food mentioned during the story line, and then includes photos, dialog, and recipes that correspond. 

I came across an episode called 'The Darlings Fortune' but it wasn't quite familiar to me.  Sure for the fourth time the Darlings are trying to marry off one of their kin to an unwilling Mayberrian.  This time it's one of the Darling boys and it involves Old Lady Crump...hmmm... still not coming to mind. Then I realized it's a color episode!  We don't watch those much.  We have tried....

What got me really interested the most with this episode was Briscoe calling the blueberry muffins that Aunt Bee made "larrapin".  What?  I could tell it was meant as a compliment but I had never heard that term before.  Was it short for something or an odd mountain way to pronounce a different word?  Like "beyant" is 'beyond' or "catawampus" means 'every which a way' which means 'all jacked up'.

I looked the word up on the internet, checked out books from the library on North Carolina mountain folklore and miscellany, along with watching the episode.  Nothing of real enlightenment other than it meaning 'tasty' was found.  I did learn however, that if you meet a cross-eyed woman at a place where the road forks, always spit in your hand, or on the ground to ward off bad luck.

Let us get back to these larrapin muffins though.
Here is the recipe or as Briscoe would say, 'receipt':

Beyond saying 'larrapin', Briscoe may have added something like this to describe these muffins:
"I'ma talking butter-mouthed now.  I got a mash on these vittles.  I'm aknowin' I et every bit and grain.  I'd go a whoop and a holler for another mess of 'em!"

Translation: "I speak high flattery at this present time.  I have quite an admiration for these fine provisions.  I concur I have devoured ever morsel.  I would travel a far distance to partake of them in large quantities."

I concur that I have myself partaken large quantities of these muffins.  I made a whole mess of them (3 batches) and we plowed through them in just a few days. They are larrapin!

I leave you with this last bit of mountain folklore:
Never pick up a spoon lying in the road.  Women who are unlucky in household affairs sometimes throw away a spoon, believing that their bad luck will pass to the person who picks it up.

For more of my Mayberry Menus:

Friday, August 19, 2016

Betty Crocker Blueberry Muffins

image from Betty Crocker's Picture Cook book 1956

A few months back I was on a blueberry muffin kick.  I tried out several different recipes, some modern and some vintage.  The modern one involved greek yogurt and other healthy stuff... those turned out horrible and flew into the trash pail... kinda like the above image. I grabbed my magic wand and incanted "Reducto!".  Off they went.  I did discover two yummy vintage recipes that I will be sharing... they involve sugar and butter!

The first one comes from Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book (Revised and Enlarged) 1956.  

(Click on recipe image to enlarge) 

I followed the recipe for the blueberry sweeter muffins.  The only additional thing I did was add
drizzled lemon icing (microwaved prefab) and a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top.  These muffins are very cupcake-y.  I would certainly make them again.

The next recipe post is the winner of my battle of the blueberry muffins though.  I liked it so much I made 3 batches, and nearly ate the 3 batches myself!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


I love seeking out old style food packaging.  Not retro ones trying to look old with a bunch of clip art. I mean food packaging from companies that are still in business and have kept everything looking the same for the past 60 years.
I also love to learn about the history of the companies.  Most of the ones I find tend to be local(ish) being from the south and family owned.

Two new ones I have added to the kitchen shelf are Sunflower and Dixie Lily.

Sunflower is based out of Hopkinsville, Kentucky and has been around since 1874.  You have got to go see their cute small website and listen to the jingle!!! I have been playing it over and over.  I think the off kilter "Pre-Sifted" wording on the flour bag is too cute!

Dixie Lily was established in 1933 and is based out of  Saraland, Alabama.  They carry a whole slew of cool packaging products, mostly rice, corn meal, grits, and dried beans.  See their website for their whole line of 'eye candy'!

Dixie Lily is sold only in the southeast US.  Sunflower doesn't have a map on their site of where it can be purchased but they have a 'contact us' deal for more information.

I would love to go on a tour of each of these companies.  I'd sneak over to the rolls of plastic bags from Dixie Lily's affiliate China Doll or Southern Charm and grab enough to wall paper my kitchen walls!

I have never seen the Southern Charm food products anywhere.  I'll have to keep a look out.

Once I find them I will be throwing a big pinto bean party!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Two summers ago I attempted to make a Pineapple Upside Down Cake which was a huge disaster.  This was because my oven was acting up and I refused to "call the man" to get it fixed.  I spent about 3 months doing all my baking in the toaster oven or my Easy Bake Oven to prove some kind of point. That first pineapple upside down cake took the route of toaster oven baking and resulted in a scorched mess... I bet it would have worked in the Easy Bake Oven though.  Hmmmm.... Maybe next time.

After letting the smoke clear out of the kitchen, I thought I may try this recipe again, except using an actual adult sized oven this time.

The cake turned out perfect!
Verdict ruling at this time is to use a real oven for best results.  I do think the Easy Bake could do it in a pinch as well, you just have to wait 20 minutes for each piece to bake.

image source

This is the recipe I kinda went with.  I used pineapple slices instead of crushed pineapple and no nuts.  I used a boxed cake mix and baked at the temperature recommended on it.
The text on the recipe is a bit hard to read so here is what it says:

"First prepare the Upside-down topping:
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter or margarine in an 8 inch square pan or 9 inch round pan or skillet.  Sprinkle with 2/3 cup brown sugar, arrange over sugar 2 cups (no. 2 can) drained "crisp cut" Dole crushed pineapple.  Decorate with maraschino cherries and pecan halves.  A perfect dessert when made with an easy-to-prepare cake mix or your own favorite cake recipe."

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Citrus Surprise Jello

Yet another venture into gel cookery, molding, and garnishing!
I found the idea in a cook booklet called Joys of Jello (no publication date, maybe early 1970's?).

The booklet contains many different ways to manipulate their jiggly product.  That you see, is the true joy of jello. 
I found a recipe for "Citrus Surprise" that intrigued me.  Joy and a surprise all in one dish!  The surprise is that when you whip jello it turns white(ish) and fluffy, doubling in size!  Below is the photo of "Citrus Surprise" from the booklet:

I was ohhing and ahhing over how much the whipped top bulked up the thing and that it was so white compared to the orange jello it was originally a part of. 
I set forth to make my own version but as always I changed matters up a tad bit.
I used peach jello as the base, mandarin oranges, canned pineapple, and some shredded coconut.  Original recipe below:
How to whip Jello:

The thing that's a bit of a nightmare when making different layered jello molds along with adding fruits (or heaven help beans) which appear to have a floating mystical appearance is having to watch and wait for the right chilled consistency to happen before moving on to the next step.  The jello has to not be liquid and not be getting too firm.  I have read "egg white consistency"" as the goal.  Time frame for when this magical moment happens can vary depending on the temp of the water and fridge.  It becomes a pain in the rump checking it every few minutes.  This particular jello dish encountered several issues along the way pertaining to this nightmare.  I tried to find a more practical way to make this dish happen and not waste my time.  But maybe it's not best to hasten the process by cooling the jello in the freezer (and forgetting about it) and it certainly is not advised to then put said jello in the toaster oven to defrost it to be able to add the fruit.  This is the reason you can only see the top fluffy layer.  The bottom section didn't quite set properly. 

I did however follow instructions correctly to make the fluffy surprise top which seemed to take forever to poof up.  I was a bit bummed that it did not turn white.  Even through all the mishaps the dish tasted decent....that was the true surprise!