Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What Shall I Cook Today? 124 thrifty, healthful tested recipes from Spry

 Here is the Spry Shortening cookbook I mentioned last week. Even though it doesn't have a copyright date, the illustrations shout 1930s! Aren't the comics darling? The thrifty, healthful line makes me laugh!
 I have always wanted to try apple fritter, I will have to remember this recipe.
 Of course, they couldn't have a shortening cookbook without talking about Pies!
 I like how they have included illustrated guides. Sometimes these are very helpful as cakes in vintage cookbooks usually aren't the dump-everything-in-a-bowel-and-mix variety. 
The recipe for Spry Pan-coat looks interesting. I haven't thought about mixing the flour and shortening together.

 Don't you love the recipe titles? Arabian Dessert Cake and Apple Upside Down Cake? 
Of course the reason I bought this booklet was the comics on the front and back, too cute!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Dinning Room

There was two projects I worked on in the dinning room this winter. They weren't big or changes that really made an impact on the room. Once summer was upon us in the busyness I kind of forgot about them. They were fun winter/spring projects, I had such fun working on them!
 Before we look at more pictures, a quick look at what the dinning room looked like last year, disastrous construction zone! There wasn't too much that needed done (compared to some other rooms!), re-finishing of the floors, paint and more paint and the ceiling light fixture moved over. You can see in the picture, there are two holes. The dinning room was one of the few rooms that actually had a ceiling light fixture, but when we went to put the light in the living room we realized the dinning room fixture was not centered. Since I was patching holes already, I had it moved over the few inches so everything would be in line. 
Here it is, both of my projects in one picture. The side chairs and the framed fruit prints. Both, of course, have stories.
The chairs I discovered in an antique mall last summer. One was in one room and the other in another room. When I saw the second I realized I had seen one just like it! Even though they needed some sort of seat and were all dried out from a previous owner's stripping, at $5 each I wasn't passing them up!
I painted them the same blue as the mirror in the front entry hall and upholstered the seats in matching curtain fabric. I love how the chair color brings out the blue in the fabric! After doing research, I realized the hole in the seats were for caned seats. I was very temped to cane them after doing my sewing room chair, but I decided to stick with my first plan as I wanted to use the curtain fabric somewhere else besides just the curtains.
 The second project, which really wasn't suppose to be a project, was the fruit pictures. I found them at an antique store several years ago, long before I bought my house. So of course, I had a completely different plan in mind and I only bought five (yes, five, what was I thinking!). As you can see, even nine doesn't fill the wall, five was lost. So I started a quest to find more. I visited the antique store, I scoured etsy, I googled and searched. The only plates I could find were either ones I already owned or were way out of my price range. 
Then I had a brain storm. Since they were from a book, why didn't a try looking for the book instead of the prints? After a bit more searching, I was fairly certain which book they were from and decided to take a chance and order the book. I got the right book, now I have 120 prints! I could paper the whole wall! 
I am still working on what to put on top of the buffet, I think a little more height would be nice. And I keep toying with the idea of adding more fruit prints. But decorating is always a work in progress!
I love how sunny the dinning room is in the afternoon. The angle of the sun is already changing, Autumn is on it's way!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cherry Breakfast Muffins

I am still celebrating Cherries! Today, I have a recipe that is not only cherry, but from a vintage cookbook! When I looked in past posts, I realized I had not shared the little Spry cookbook pamphlet this recipe is from, so stayed tuned for it in a later post.

The cherry muffin idea all started with a recipe I saw on Pinterest for Cherry Danish Muffins which looked delicious. But once I read the recipe I realized it was make with pre-packaged dough, not really my idea of  baking. So I took the idea and set out to find a muffin recipe. 
They turned out very well. A little different then we are normally use to in a muffin recipe. Instead of being almost cake like, they are a bit more egg-y with not as fine as a texture. I reminds me of a popover without the crisp outside. Which in my opinion makes a great breakfast muffin!
The muffins are in a vintage silver wire basket I found last fall. It has become my favorite thing to serve muffins and scones in!

I followed the recipe just like it is written except to substitute water for milk to make them dairy-free. Then I added 2 cups thawed cherries to the batter. Once the muffins tins were filled pushed a little chunk of cream cheese in the middle and spooned cherry jam on top. (When I make them again I would mix the cream cheese with a little sugar and milk so it was softer.) Or you can always skip that part and just make cherry muffins!

Thursday, August 28, 2014


I am not sure why or how or when, but I love pinwheels! They make me happy.

I think it started last year. When life was chaotic and crazy, when my house was a mess and didn't look or feel pretty, when there wasn't much I could do to decorate or make it pretty, except put a few pinwheels out!
This year they make we even happier! Life has smoothed out, my house is beautiful and I can decorate and re-decorate to my hearts content. Pinwheels still find a place though. This year's finds are bright and happy in gorgeous colors.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cherry Cobbler

 Cobbler is one of those desserts that is pure comfort food! An old family friend shared this version with us, the name she gave it was Lazy Man's Cobbler. It is a snap to throw together!
If you don't have cherries, no problem! I have made this with peaches, apples, rhubarb and blueberries. It can be made with fresh, caned or frozen fruit. Over the years we have made it just about every way there is. 

Lazy Man's Cobbler
about 4-5 cups of fruit filling*
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups milk or water
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients except fruit together in a bowl. Put half of fruit filling in a 9 x 13 pan and pour batter on top. Spoon the rest of fruit filling on top of the batter. Do not stir! Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.
(This recipe also works great dairy free! Just substitute water and margarine)
*Fruit Filling-If you are using fresh or frozen fruit, I usually make a sugar syrup with the fruit by cooking it with about 2 cups water and 1 cup sugar. If you are using canned fruit, the syrup in the can works great.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mason Jar Solar Light Lanterns

I have had several queries about the mason jar lanterns lately. Hopefully, this post will answer all the questions. Mom had actually purchased the jars and lids last year when we were living in the apartment. Once we got settled in the new house, we knew they had to go somewhere special, somewhere that said summer. The Front Porch! Don't they just seem to shout long summer evenings, dancing fireflies and warm breezes? 
The mason jars are last year's special 100th anniversary additions. Love the color! Though I have noticed you can now buy them in just about any color of the rainbow at craft stores. The solar lights are from Amazon. (There is also lids with handles for hanging)They are specially made to go on canning jars so all you have to do is screw on the lid and wa-la! you have a lantern! Even though they are a bit pricey, they are worth the hours of enjoyment. 
At first we weren't sure where to put the lanterns on the porch, until I saw a pinterest picture of mason jar tea light lanterns. Then while cleaning I came across theses old coat hooks. Perfect! 
And with a bit of florist wire we had hanging lanterns! 
During the day, the sun isn't quite bright enough for the solar battery to recharge fully. We usually take them off their hooks and set them on the edge of the porch where is it sunny. Even on a cloudy day you can put the lights under a lamp for a charge.
 For a bit of added drama at night, we put a handful of beach glass (collected along the Lake) in the bottom of each jar. It is beautiful with the light bounced around, almost like the sun shining through a prism.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Picking Cherries

Two weekends ago Mandy and I headed up to Door County, Wisconsin to pick cherries! I so was excited! I love picking fruit and this was our first time picking cherries. Visions of jams, pies and cherry goodies swirled in my head. 
 Not only do I love the end delights of fruit picking, but there is something enchanting about a fruit orchard. The peacefulness, the sun and blueness above, the calmness of nature that surrounds one. 
We provided with metal buckets lined with a bag for picking. (I loved the buckets!) For hands free picking the bucket had rope attached to it that could be tied around the waist. We certainly needed both hands to pick there were so many cherries! They were so very ripe and would fall on our heads if we jiggled the branches too much. 
 It was a good cherry year, no ladder climbing required! I filled almost one bucket standing in one spot. Each bucket held about 9-10 pounds of cherries. We had such a great time we ended up picking 75 pounds of cherries! Lots of cherry jam and pie coming our way!
These are the "tart" variety. Good for baking and jam making. The skins are thinner and they are a smaller then your regular grocery store variety. But still oh so good!
Aren't they beautiful? The branches were so weighted down we learned early to start at the top of the branch and work our way to the tip. As soon as some of the weight was off the end, the branch would spring up a couple of inches! If you didn't get the father up ones first, they would now be out of reach.
 We were some of the last pickers. Almost right behind us the picking machines came, so fascinating to watch. The machine would shake the trees for about half a minute catching all the cherries with their wide tarp wings. 
 It is really two machines, one on the right and one on the left. The right side maneuvered into place around the tree, then the left side, then they shake. The cherries roll down the sides unto the conveyor and get  sent to a tank filled with water to keep cool and prevent bruising.
Once the tank is filled, a tractor takes it to the edge of the orchard to await collection. 
A full tub waiting to be sent to the factory to be made into juice. We played in them for a few minutes, the water felt so good! It was a lovely warm day, not terribly hot. But is it still a bit of work picking 75 pounds of cherries!
Stay tuned for some Cherry recipes!