Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Thrilling Flower of a Cake...Banana Cream Cake

 "What a thrill you'll get seeing a recipe flower into this luscious Banana Cream Cake!"

I would have been more thrilled if I could have been able to clearly read this recipe.  I was able to make out (or make up) most of it though.  It appeared that I was going to need a few items, cloves being one of them.  Do you know how expensive cloves are?!  Too much for me, my friend! The recipe seemed to call for cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves...basically a spice cake, right?  Well, Mrs. Betty Crocker, Mr. Duncan Hines makes a spice cake mix for the price of  4 bottles of those highfalutin cloves!
Now I don't need that ol' blurry recipe!  I'll just look at the picture and go with it.  I see spice cake mix, vanilla pudding, cool whip and bananas.

This just means I didn't get to enjoy the thrill of when the cake is cut open and having that two tiered color and flavor extravaganza.  You know how exciting vanilla cake and spice cake together can be! But I did contribute a sassy banana flower to the middle for some additional flare.
The cake turned out pretty tasty despite not having a true recipe.  It reminds me of Banana Pudding only using cake instead of Nilla wafers.  
I refuse to be a part of Betty Crocker's high priced clove conspiracy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Random Acts of Happies

Yesterday while I was cleaning out some stuff, I came across a bunch of odds and ends craft supplies....pom poms, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, colored feathers, stickers, confetti, stamps, plastic easter eggs.....sounds like it's stash busting summer fun time to me! But what to make?  Some of these items brought to mind those little pom pom critters with big sticker feet I remember from when I was a kid.

So PB and I grabbed some glue and started making our own fuzzy little clan!

 We decided our pom pom soldiers are here to do good for the world.  PB wrote up nice greetings on small pieces of index cards along with covering the other side with stamps and stickers.  We then packaged up each little guy into his own egg along with a few gold stars and a happy note:

A nest of little Happies ready to be hatched:

We then loaded up the Happies and headed out to hide them for unsuspecting persons to enjoy their cheerful attributes!

First stop... The Library! We were going to leave all of them in one location but soon realized that just like actual easter eggs...people will realize that if there is one egg there are bound to be more.  We didn't want just a couple of people to seek out all of them, so we have plans on spreading out our distribution.  We are going to bring the rest of them along with us during our other summer outings and place a few here and there spreading happy cuteness to the masses!
{*}Knit Wit image only a mere serving suggestion and has very little to do with this post other than I thought it was cute and pom-pomy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thrift Scores

 Cutie Salt and Pepper shakers, with the added bonus of being bottle openers. The winking one is the pepper, she must have gotten some in her eye!

 I have been watching for one of these aluminum star strainers for a while.  It had to be in good shape and had to be only a dollar. Done!

It's 'Christmas in July' half price sale on holiday merchandise at one of the thrifts. I picked up this plastic Santa and sled for only a buck fifty.  It's bigger than it looks in the photo, about 2 feet long.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Let's Go Shopping!

 Here are some highlights from our most recent grocery store field trip!  We visited two older stores in our town and got to see interesting foods, vintage styled food labels, and various vintage grocery store "parts" shelving, cases, signs and decor.  The camera on my phone is horrible, not even doing 'instagram' effects and filters can help, so I had to snag images from the nets of some of the items we saw.
  Looking up the history of  the companies that produce the older styled food labels is another fun element involved with the field trips.  I am hoping one day to find a company that isn't based too far away and gives factory tours!

When we go to these small home town stores,  I picture that everything will look like this.....including me, while we are there.

So here are some of the goods!
First up is Blackburn Syrup, since 1927.
I couldn't find much info about them. They are based out of Jefferson, TX. and also make jellies and jams.  We bought this syrup and used it on our blueberry pancakes.  It's average as syrups go...sticky, messy and sweet.

Double Luck Green Beans
I love their packaging!  I can not find much info other than a possibility Del Monte owns the company and Double Luck foods are their scraps.  I have seen this brand at a couple of stores (Big Lots, Wall's Mart) with corn and sweet peas as other available varieties. I have purchased the corn before and it is my favorite of the canned corn world.

Humpty Dumpty Eggs
Horrible image, I know.  But the packaging is super cute with a graphic of the Dumpty boy on a wall, if you can find it in person.  The company was founded in 1948 and is part of Eggland's Best company.

Porkies Pork Rinds
Porkies company started in 1948 and are located in Cudahy, Wisconsin.  They have been in the same building since 1953.  They make a large variety of pork products that involve feet, gizzards, hocks and "tidbits". They also have dill pickles with pretty cool packaging.

It took a bit of digging to find their info and website.  Ruby Brand started up during the 1940s in New York City.  Their website has a wonderful catalog of their products, all with this same lovely graphic design.  They are all canned items, some of which include: olives, pineapple, tuna, mushrooms, mandarin oranges, and snails.  I think my favorite can of theirs is the Whole Baby Corn. 

Argo Starch
I could not find any info about Argo Starch's history, other than some people have cravings to eat the stuff...which you shouldn't do.

I have picked up a bit of an obsession over older grocery stores lately and happened to find this British repro  Tesco Super Market that was a part of a vintage car show back in 2011.  All of the inside of the store was set up to look mid century! There are far more pics in the link.  

And I found some real mid century grocery market photos.
Let's see what she is buying... In her shopping cart is Wonder Bread, Domino sugar, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, Jell-o, and Dash detergent.  I wonder what the two hooks on the front of the cart are for hanging... I don't see a seat area for a child, hmmm....

I have a  Grocery Market pinterest board if you need more Jumbo Value, 29 cent special, wrapped in cellophane, free with 16 wrappers from Daisy Bread grocery marting goodness!
 {Last summer's grocery field trip, if you are so inclined: Pork Brains and Milk Gravy}

Friday, July 11, 2014

Golden Donut Sundaes

 During another vintage grocery store excursion, we found this sack of a dozen donuts from Golden Donut hailing from Columbus, Georgia.  I could not resist the king donut guy on the bag and they were only 2.29.  I thought Mr. Golden Donut King was sure to be a 1950-60 icon but the site claims they started business in the 1980's.  No matter, he is still quite adorable!

For dessert one night we set up a donut sundae bar with any and everything we had available, some of which included but not limited to were halloween and christmas sprinkles, plastic cake toppers and doo dads, chocolate sauce and glittery icing in a tube!

This is Hubs' Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs idea, "Whistle while you...Die!" where the dwarfs are happily covering the bloody skulls of their victims. 

This is PB's "Everything but the kitchen Sink-dae" which included a duck, Wonder bread, and a load of sprinkles.  You must ponder the juxtaposition and relationships within to truly understand where the artist is coming from. 

This is my "Death Clown and his Cockroach Minions" (good name for a band).  Death clown is having a meeting with the head roaches to discuss their next evil plot for taking over the world.  The ice cream and sprinkles are offerings laid at his skeleton feet and scavenged from unknowing kitchens..not much unlike your own! 

We have been doing a bunch of summer fun qualifying activities this week.  We went to the library, went to a state park, "grilled" hotdogs over the open flame of the stove, made lemonade, resurrected a dinosaur plant,  went thrifting, made a toy snow monster, ate Screwballs, made pancakes, visited several interesting grocery stores, went bowling, made pudding pops, went to the park and worked on a 'flat stanley' type photo project.  More on those things a bit later!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Fresh Made Lemonade

Leave the dishes in the sink!  Let the summer fun begin! I like to take PB on "field trips" to the older, simpler and/or international grocery markets in our town during the summer when we have more time to wander and don't need anything specific.  We keep an eye out for neat vintage styled food and product packaging and pick up a few different things to try out. 
A few days ago we took just such a field trip.  This store has been in business for 40 years and is very quaint. It's main focus is Greek foods... and lottery tickets.  As PB and I were scoping the place out, we lingered near the small produce area a bit longer than most...because I was in love with the cooler case...huge, gorgeous and chromed out!  I was trying to sneek a photo but the manager desk is right beside it.  Since we spent so much time near the cooler case PB took notice of the lemons. These lemons intrigued the boy... lemons = lemonade!  He announced he wanted to make his very own fresh lemonade before the day had ended.  So we quickly grabbed up a few lemons and headed home.
 We set up the juicing attachment on the mixer and went to "joggling".

And TA-DA!
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade in no time flat!

I had never had freshly joggled lemonade before and this stuff is great! No more powder for us!

We used a recipe from The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook 1953 edition. 
 Recipe below:

Of course, I can never look at the tips of lemons and not help but think of Amy Sedaris and her intriguing idea for prosthetic breast attachments...

( BUST photo shoot hint: cut off the tips of lemons for pert faux nipples)!

We have no plans on setting up a lemonade stand for our premier draft.  We are thinking big.  Ideas are now in the works for vast groves of lemon trees in the backyard that yield huge-as-our-heads-lemons thus making larger batches of 'ade. And as a bonus, larger lemons means even more pronounced fake nips....I call them Lemonips (I so copyright and claim that term!)!  Those we will sell at a stand!  

Monday, July 07, 2014

Household Maintenance

I have been spending a great deal of time this summer doing household maintenance tasks that have not been tended to on any regular or acceptable basis.  They are the kind of tasks that normally should just get done and they don't make a difference or get noticed unless they are neglected.  Kinda like the kitchen sink.  It goes unnoticed and accepted until it is full of dirty dishes and then it becomes an issue.  I haven't been neglecting the dishes, because I don't care to eat out of the pot with a plastic spork, but hopefully you get the idea.  An irritating part of all this work is it is not even blog-worthy.  I can't snap a picture and say "Look!  I finally got the opportunity to sweep and dust under my bed....see the 2 years worth of dust bunnies!"
But if anyone would like a recap of these exciting activities....

  •  Deep cleaned PB's bedroom, which I only can find the time to do twice a year, when the floor becomes invisible under all of his stuff, paper, and toys and getting to the dresser requires mountain climbing gear. 
  • I painted the window woodwork in my bedroom.  Someone who lived here before us thought that it would be a great idea to paint it a mossy green (which I do like that color) but changed their mind half way through and left it for us to fix.
  •  I painted the bedroom closet door white since it looked dingy next to the freshly painted windows.
  • Cleaned out and organized Hub's side of the closet and dresser drawers...finally found all of those missing socks. 
  •  I had the entire outside of the house painted along with some wood repairs.  I sat that one out.
  • We cleaned out and organized our outside storage shed that had not been touched since we moved in 3 years ago. Found some hatched and unhatched odd looking eggs...about the size of jelly beans.  Could be Krites...luckily our cats are armed.
  • Hauled off almost 2 car loads of pure junk to thrift stores.
  • Currently we are resurfacing our wood the 100 degree heat of Florida.
  • Slowly tackling yard the 1000 degree heat of Hell.
While I am glad to have some projects getting taken care of, it's the kind of stuff that should have been getting done anyway so I can't toot any horns over it.

I realized today that we only have 6 weeks til school starts back and PB and I have not done hardly any fun summer activities.  I tried to convince him that raking up the old paint chips*  is what all the cool kids are doing this summer but he is not buying it.

*Before any "concerned citizens" out there start chiming in, the previous paint was lead free and I don't allow PB to eat too much of it!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Blueberry Shortcakes

PB went blueberry picking recently and came home with a whole sack full of the little buggers.  On our first recipe run with them we decided to make blueberry shortcakes!
I made the shortcakes from Jiffy baking mix, only I added coconut to the dough.  For the blueberry sauce I adapted a recipe from my 1961 Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook book.

I used the recipe for Pineapple Filling (click image below for enlargement), only I substituted blueberries.  I also substituted lime juice for lemon, because that's what I had on hand, and it worked quite well I might add.  I then topped everything with whipped cream and more shredded coconut.  They turned out super yummy!
Several years ago I made Strawberry Coconut Shortcakes that were pretty tasty as well.  Here is the recipe that I used both times:

2 cups JIFFY Baking Mix
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp melted shortening
1/2 cup milk
shredded coconut (I used a bit more than 1/4 bag)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine above ingredients, mix into a soft dough. Turn onto surface dusted with baking mix and knead quickly 20 times. Pat or roll dough 1/2 inch thick. Cut out 3 inch circles. Bake on ungreased baking sheet 8-10 minutes. Spoon sweetened fruit on top and between shortcakes. Serve with whipped cream mixed with shredded coconut. Makes 6 shortcakes.

I love me some Jiffy mix! Every time I post about Jiffy I can never say enough good stuff about their products!  So let's go over, yet again, why Jiffy is so awesome:

*If you go to their website, you can order a FREE recipe booklet!  I have had mine for several years and use it all the time.  Their website also has a recipe area that lists recipes for each of their products along with 'by meals' (breakfast, desserts, etc...) 

*Another cool thing is the Jiffy plant is open for FREE tours (located in Chelsea, Michigan)!

*Their super cute vintage styled packaging (they have been around since the 1930's) can be turned into fun stuff, such as this memo pad I crafted up several years ago!

* And, lastly, Jiffy mixes can be used in Easy Bake Ovens!