Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Positively beautiful ...

... with negative calories!

Make your own edible flowers - and treat yourself to delicious savings.

Gourmet Bouquet: Decorative Centerpieces to Eat and Enjoy, Julia Weinberg, 1979, Butterick Publishing, softcover, 160pp.


Explore more ways to satisfy your creative side and pare down your expenses at - for great cookbooks, craft patterns, and videos at small prices.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Some Like It Hotter ...

Jane Butel's Hotter Than Hell: Hot & Spicy Dishes from Around the World, Jane Butel, 1987, First Edition, HP Books, softcover, 199pp.

This intriguingly-named collection of recipes have been revved up with mouth-tingling spices - a variety of chile peppers, ginger, horseradish, mustard, pepper, onions, and garlic. The author is an expert in foods of the American Southwest, and has been credited as the first to write about Tex-Mex cuisine. But this book has more than just Tex-Mex - there are lots of "hot" international recipes, too.

Contents: Introduction (including a Guide to Ingredients), Appetizers and First Courses, Soups and Salads, Seafood, Poultry, Meats, Game, LIght Meals, Condiments and Sauces, Vegetable Dishes, Beverages, Sweet Endings, Index.

Sample recipes - Instant Bloody Marias, Brazilian Black Bean Soup, Brennan's Red Hot Baby Lobster Tails, Fiery Mediterranean Roast Pork, Sassy Stroganoff, Roast Pheasant in Horseradish-Brandy Cream, Zesty Szechwan Salmon, Jalapeno Hollandaise, Orange Blossom Blueberry Pie, Sumptuous Chocolate-Walnut Souffle.

In excellent vintage condition - pages clean and intact, covers lightly worn. Photo is of actual item you'll receive. 

A hot bargain at $3.95 plus shipping.

Good heavens!  A little spicy for your taste?   Find the vintage cookbook you're hungry for at!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Trio of HandPrinted Cookbooks

Make It Now - Bake It Later! Barbara Goodfellow, self-published, 1958, softcover, 37pp.
Make It Now - Bake It Later! #2, 1961, self-published, softcover, 35pp.
Make It Now - Bake It Later! #3, 1965, Pocket Books, softcover, 35pp.

This trio of late '50s to early '60s fundraising cookbooks are handwritten collections of recipes that, with few exceptions, were designed to be put together ahead of time and refrigerated until an hour or two before dinner.  Then they are popped into the oven without further ado.

Written by the wife of a Navy admiral to raise money for the National Cystic Fibrosis Research Foundation, the first two cookbooks were self-published; after they sold over a million copies, Pocket Books published #3.

Sample recipes for entrees include: Spanish Bean Pot (a delicious sounding variation on baked beans, flavored with peach juice and brandy), Rice and Deviled Eggs with Tuna, Norfolk Noodles (egg noodles in sour cream and 2 types of cheese), Spaghetti Sauce, Lobster Newburg, Clam and Corn Souffle, Lamb Shanks Deluxe, Sophisticated Stew (beef flavored with wine, brandy, bacon, and herbs).

Each book also contains recipes for hors d'oeuvres, salads, cookies, and desserts.

A fun threesome for your vintage cookbook collection.  Or, if you're interested, I just ran across another copy of book #3.  I'll make it available at my eCrater store soon.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Look ma, no hands!

Proof that everything is relative to historical context.  And that you can get along without an index finger on your left hand, as long as you're right-handed.  (She must be - her right hand's doing a double Vulcan salute.)

Okay.  End of snarky comments about this old ad, scanned from a 1946 McCalls magazine.  Now, the memories

My mom had a Maytag wringer washer and it was one scary machine - the wringer snatched away our dripping dresses and shirts without so much as a please or thank you.  It was durable, though, and Mom used it to wash the family's clothes from the late '40s through the early '70s.  But because she recognized its danger, and she had the special training that Moms get, the laundry room was her domain.  It was in the basement, dark and gloomy, and Dad's boyhood story about what he and a friend did to a barncat secured its place as her exclusive territory.  

By contrast, hanging the clothes outside to dry was a shared family activity.  Mom was shorter than me, so I reached the line and pulled it down for her to reach.   Then she deftly placed the clothespins exactly where they needed to be.  Somehow, the number of clothespins in the basket always matched the number of items to hang - unless I "helped".

It wasn't until I was a teenager and went to the laundro-mat that I discovered that one could wash clothes without risk of amputation.  And a dime in the dryer meant you could dry a whole load without calculation.  The spin-dry cycle, and some stern warnings about the danger of lint, allowed my own kids to learn early on that laundry was a family affair.

And our house cat could relax.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gotta share this recipe ...

... Tonight I lifted this recipe for salmon loaf off the web because it used up some of the overages in my pantry - saltines (only used in recipes or when someone is sick and can't eat anything else), and one of the many cans of mushroom soup my daughter-in-law got a deal on. And I wouldn't have to cook up any rice beforehand.  Just mix stuff that I had on hand, bake, and eat.

 I wasn't expecting too much, and the pressure from my dinner companion (DH) was low.  DH will eat just about anything as long as he doesn't have to cook it (even the burned bacon-asparagus casserole back in our early married days).  Ever heard the joke about the moose-turd pie?  That's him saying "But it's good!"

This was even better!  It's so moist, it doesn't need sauce, but since I didn't know that, and I had a half-can of evaporated milk left over from the recipe, I made up a basic white sauce flavored with a little turmeric, curry, and Janes Crazy Mixed Up Salt.  I poured it over some steamed brussel sprouts and recommended using a little extra on the plate.  That turned out to be gilding the lily, but who doesn't like their lilies gilded?

 Thanks to Natbear at  My lackadaisical cooking suggestions are in italics.

Salmon Loaf

    2 cans (14.75 oz) pink salmon, drained (my dog loved the liquid)
    1 sleeve Saltine Crackers, crushed (gently crush inside the sleeve and just let the crumbs fall into the bowl)
    2 eggs, lightly beaten (save a dirty dish by breaking them into an empty salmon can and stir with fork)
    1 can cream of mushroom soup (you can use the lowest priced generic value brand)
    1/2 cup evaporated milk (Oops - I misread this and used a 1/2 can - those 2 extra oz. added 5 minutes to the baking time; the other 1/2 can went into the abovementioned white sauce)
    1 tsp each onion powder, garlic powder, and dried parsley (never figured out a reason for having dried parsley around, so I used dill instead)
    Heat oven to 350. Grease loaf pan. (Butter is my fav grease.)
    Place salmon in large bowl and flake with fork. (Save the fork and skip the flaking - it will disintegrate enough in the next step.)
    Mix in crushed crackers, beaten egg, soup, milk, and spices.  Spread into prepared loaf pan. Bake about 45 minutes. (Or 50 minutes, if you use 6 ounces of milk.)
    Check with a knife - if it comes out clean, it's done!

    Number of Servings: 8

    No photo yet - I really didn't think this recipe was going to inspire a blog post.  Check back in the next few days to see how well this reheats!

    Update -
    Here's a slice, 2 days later, with brussel sprouts smothered in curry cream sauce.  No need for sauce with this lovely moist recipe, though.  The texture is really more like that of a salmon mousse - in fact, I call it Salmon Mousse Loaf in my recipe file.  Definitely a keeper!

    Learn a new needlecraft ...

    Now on sale at
    ... with a book widely considered to be the best for all levels of expertise. 

    The Bantam Step-by-Step Book of Needle Craft, Judy Brittain, Bantam, 1980, softcover, 512 pp.

    The most comprehensive book on needlecraft ever written, organized by type: knitting, crochet, knotted & wovenwork (knotting, macrame, netting, tatting, plaiting, rugmaking, weaving), embroidery, needlepoint, patchwork quilting & applique, and basic sewing.

    "Since the earliest times needles and yarns have been used to make beautiful works of art ... with the advent of machines life became easier for people ... the understanding of the workings of needle and yarn and their partnership with the texture of fabric were forgotten ... this book, therefore, was undertaken to reinstate the craft of the needle ... so that new and beautiful needlework will once more come into being and become part of a future heritage."

    For each of the 15 separate crafts included in the book, the history, materials and equipment, how-to techniques and diagrams, stitch glossaries, and project instructions and design ideas are provided. Beginners will appreciate the simplified step-by-step illustrated instructions, and experts will be able to add to their repertoire with the many different ideas, patterns and stitches shown.

    A classic, must-have reference work for the serious crafter!

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    Paczki (Punch-key, Jelly Doughnut) Recipe

    This recipe for Paczki - the traditional East European jelly doughnuts you eat when you know you'll be lean on treats until Easter - came from a 1958 adaptation of an early 1900s Polish cookbook called Uniwersalna Ksiazka Kucharska (The Universal Cook Book) by Mme. Marja Ochorowicz-Monatowa.  I haven't tried it yet - but I'm a casual bread baker and these directions for making the yeast dough are quite different from the modern recipes I've followed. 

    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 cups boiling milk
    • 3 1/2 ozs. yeast
    • 1/4 cup lukewarm milk
    • 6 egg yolks
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 vanilla bean, ground
    • 1-2 tsp. grated orange rind
    • 3/4 lb. butter, melted
    • flour, jam, deep fat for frying
    Sift 1 cup flour into boiling milk, remove from heat, and beat until smooth.  Cool.  Dissolve yeast in the 1/4 cup milk.  Add to flour mixture, stir, and let stand half an hour.  Cream egg yolks and sugar, add vanilla and orange rind and add to dough when it begins to rise.  Add remaining flour and butter, and work with fingers until dough begins to stand away from the hands.  Let stand until it has risen to about twice its bulk.  Roll out on floured board to thickness of 5/8 inch, and cut out circles with a glass or pastry cutter.  Place a teaspoon of jam in center of half the circles (using only fruit, not syrup), cover with remaining circles, press edges together, and let stand in warm place to rise again.  Fry a few at a time in deep fat, taking care not to heat the fat so much that the dough will burn.  Drain and serve dusted with confectioner's sugar.

    My mouth is watering just typing the recipe.  I'll have to try this one.

    Friday, February 08, 2013

    Candy is dandy ...

    Candy , Better Homes and Gardens, First Edition, First Printing, 1984, Meredith Corp, hardcover, 96pp. 
    " after delicious page of recipes for time-tested favorites like fudge, divinity, and caramels ... an entire chapter of sweet treats that go together in a hurry ... directions will assure you of memorable homemade confections time after time."

     Milk Made Candies , Evaporated Milk Association, Chicago, Illinois, 1951, softcover, 16pp.
    Vintage 1950s candy cookbook with recipes using evaporated (NOT condensed) milk. Among them are fudge, panocha, fondant, pralines, caramels, taffy, and butterscotch. 

    Home Made Candy by the food editors of Farm Journal, Nell B. Nichols (ed), 1970, Doubleday & Co, hardcover with dust jacket, 224pp.
    This vintage candy cookbook has over 250 tested recipes, as well as tips for storing, packing, and mailing your finished batch. 

    ... Desserts are divine ...

     Death by Chocolate Cakes - An Astonishing Array of Chocolate Enchantments, Marcel Desaulniers, 2000, William Morrow, Stated First Edition, hardcover with dust jacket, 216pp.
    "...Marcel serves up some of his most inventive, most sinful, most seductive chocolate creations ever. His Chocolate Heart of Darkness cakes are the ultimate cupcakes...Look up Excessively Expressive Espresso Ecstasy or Chocolate Strawberry Teardrop Cake ... try Marcel's Chocolate Pistachio Madeleines...Golden Raisin Heavy Fudge cake, Cocoa Pound Cake with Warm Buttered Brandy Berries ... "

     Cookie Originale Original Cookie Recipes by Marilou Dyer, 1970, Nitty Gritty Productions, first edition hardcover with dust jacket, 179 pp plus index.
    This vintage cookbook is a truly original delight -- over 100 cookie recipes created by the author, combined with 47 charming black and white photos of kids and grown-ups eating cookies. 


    ... Liquor is quicker ... 

    3 Bottle Bar  , H.I. Williams, 1943, 4th printing 1944, M.S. Mill Co., Inc., hardcover with dust jacket, 64pp. 
    Vintage WWII drink mixing book, which surprised even the author for its popularity.   "...My difficulty...was in finding recipes to fit my liquor supply. Always I seemed to lack something. So I began making drinks which required only which I ordinarily keep on hand."

     The Legend of Liqueurs, Wines and Spirits:   What To Serve, When to Serve, How to Serve it, Deluxe Fourth Edition, 1938, Ginrum Alpha Co, Hastings, Nebraska, plastic binding, 3.5 by 5.5 inches, 229pp incl index. 
    "Dedicated to those who can drink, yet continue to think; and pleasures deserved glean from each, may their pleasures be many, their sorrows not any; life's happiness always in reach."

    ... Be mine, Valentine!


    Tuesday, January 01, 2013

    Cheap Exercise Options has exercise videos in economical VHS format -- with multiple item discounts, combined shipping savings, and a Golden Rule Guarantee, you can build a fitness library on the cheap in your own home! 

    It's an ecological choice, too -- cut down on all that driving to the gym - save time, money, and gasoline. And VHS tapes take lots more abuse than finicky, more expensive DVDs. The format is not dead yet -- they still make VCRs for less than $100.

    I offer videos for all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced. You'll add challenge to your workout by mixing it up with different workout styles -- aerobics, step aerobics, strength training, weight training, pilates, yoga, walking, exercise ball, dance, Tae Bo, more.

    Fitness experts include Leslie Sansone, Billy Blanks, Gin Miller, Kathy Smith, Denise Austin, Jane Fonda, Keli Roberts, Mari Winsor, Susan Powter, Kari Anderson, Karen Voight, Richard Simmons, Tony Little, Jake Steinfeld, and many more. Choose the personalities that are right for you. They'll guide and motivate you so you'll stick to the program and have fun, too!

    Take a look -