10.31.2012

Happy Halloween


Hey all! Hope you're getting set to have a fun Halloween tonight, whether it's taking the kiddos trick or treating, getting all dolled up for a par-tay or, like me, staying home and watching some classic horror flicks (and probably Hocus Pocus, because, well...I'm a nerd). But what I'm really looking forward to is tomorrow, when all the candy goes on super discount and an endless supply of Reeses peanut butter cups is within my grasp! :) Have a spooktacular night! :)

10.30.2012

The Thrifted Kitchen :: Spiced Pumpkin Roll


This week I ventured into unknown territory by tackling the classic "roll" cake. It's one of those things that my scientifically challenged brain just couldn't understand (like when I finally made a baked Alaska just to see how the ice cream in the middle doesn't melt in the oven). In this case, what I wasn't quite buying was how the cake didn't break apart when you rolled it. But I went ahead, per the instructions, trusting that the author wasn't about to make a fool of me.

What it stressed was that immediately after removing the cake from the oven, you invert it onto a kitchen towel (I have flour sack ones that worked quite nicely) sprinkled with powdered sugar, then roll it up and let it sit until it's completely cooled, which, from what I've read since, helps "train" the cake to be in that rolled position so that, after you unroll it and fill it with frosting or, in this case, ice cream, it will tuck back into its log form nice and neat.

My other theory was that when I thin cake like that is still hot, its elasticity (for lack of a better word) is greater, thus allowing it to be rolled without breaking. I was hoping Alton Brown had had a show that included the science of jelly rolls, since he is our household's go-to food science dude, but I couldn't find anything online. So I'll just pretend that my theory makes sense...at least to me. :)

Some other notes about the recipe:

> Make sure and cut the waxed paper to fit inside just the bottom of the pan. If you have it creeping up the sides, then the ends of your roll will look wonky.

> Make you life easier by letting the ice cream thaw for about 15 minutes before trying to spread it onto the cake. I actually removed it all from the carton and put it into a bowl for easy stirring to help it soften a bit. The original recipe calls for almond or vanilla ice cream, but I'm obsessed with Serendipity's swirled caramel flavor at the moment, so that's what I used.

> I wanted to make some whipped cream and pipe a design along the top of the roll, but life got in the way. So maybe you will do it instead and make yours much, much prettier.

And then won't you look fancy when you serve this to friends and family this fall?! :)


Spiced Pumpkin Roll
Courtesy of the Sunset Cook Book of Desserts, 1968
Yields 8-10 servings

3/4 cup all-purpose flour, unsifted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon each baking powder and ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and salt
3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
Powdered sugar
1 quart ice cream, slightly softened

Mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs at high speed for 5 minutes or until thick; gradually beat in granulated sugar. Using low speed, mix in pumpkin and flour mixture.

Line a 10- by 15-inch greased jelly roll pan with waxed paper; grease paper. Spread batter in pan. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 15 minutes, or until top springs back when touched. Immediately invert cake onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Removed paper; roll cake and towel into a cylinder and cool completely. Unroll cake, spread with ice cream and reroll. Wrap and freeze. Before serving, let stand at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes; dust with powdered sugar.

10.29.2012

Fav Freebie :: Owl-Lover 2013 Calendar


We're almost into November, which means 2012 will be coming to a close in mere months! It also means calendars for the new year are going to start popping up all over the Internet, and my hands-down favorite one, which I've downloaded and hung up for the past two years, is already here (yay!).


Shivani over at My Owl Barn has yet again rounded up some amazingly talented artists (more than 40 from all over the world) who have donated their time and talent to create some really cute owls for the 2013 Owl-Lover Calendar. All we have to do is hit the download button to make them ours. Or, for those of us wanting some creative control, you can pick your 12 favorite owl and create your own calendar.


I think it goes without saying that this would make a super cute (and thrifty!) Christmas gift for the owl-lover in your life. So get to it!

10.24.2012

The Thrifted Kitchen :: Rum-Pumpkin Cream Custards


Yay! It's finally here, thanks to my hubs's mad A/V skills (although it's mostly the fact that I am completely dense when it comes to technology). Did you know that you can put your camera's SD card right into your laptop? Cause I most certainly didn't. (Yeah, I know. Kinda a dummy over here.) This is great news (not me being a dummy), because I still haven't found my camera cord, but at least now I know it's not necessary to transfer the images! :)


But on to the main event! I've gone into full-fledged pumpkin mode around here, making whatever baked goods I can with that bright orange puree. This recipe was my first of the season, and comes from the 1963 edition of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook, specifically the "Dreamy Desserts" section.

It's a really simple dish to whip up, especially for those of you looking for an elegant fall dessert for your Halloween party, and the flavors blend together pretty seamlessly, creating a light creamy custard with just a hint of pumpkin.

There are four things I think are worth mentioning about this recipe:

1) When you butter the custard cups, make sure it's an even layer that's not too thick. I don't know if you can see it, but mine have little chunks of butter on the tops that taste fine, but might look a little weird.

2) Keep in mind that when you pour the caramelized sugar into the ramekins, it will harden almost on contact, so move the saucepan in a sort of circular motion as you pour the sugar to make sure you evenly coat the bottom.

3) To scald cream, put it into the saucepan over medium-high heat and stir until cream just starts to form bubbles along the edge, then turn the heat off immediately.

4) When tempering the eggs, after you've mixed some of the saucepan mixture into it, pour it all back into the saucepan slowly (as in drizzle it in), whisking constantly. It may seem like overkill, but I always do this to add an extra preventive measure against curdled eggs, which makes for gross custards.

I hope you enjoy! :)


Rum-Pumpkin Cream Custards
Courtesy of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook, 1963
Yields 4 servings

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light rum
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Make day before:
1. Start heating oven to 325 degrees. In small skillet, over medium heat, melt 1/3 cup sugar, stirring, till it's a caramel-like syrup. Pour at once into four buttered custard cups.

2. Meanwhile, in saucepan, scald cream; with hand beater, beat in 1/4 cup sugar, rum, pumpkin. Beat some of this mixture into eggs; return all to saucepan; beat till blended.

3. Then slowly pour pumpkin mixture into custard cups; set in shallow baking pan, and place on oven rack. Fill pan with hot water to within 3/4" of top of cups.

4. Bake about 45 minutes. Near end of baking time, insert silver knife in center of one custard. When knife comes out clean, remove custards; cool; refrigerate.

Twenty minutes before serving:
1. Removed custards from refrigerator; let stand 15 minutes.

2. Run spatula all around inside of each cup; invert on individual dessert plate If desired, pass rum at table to spoon over custards.

10.22.2012

Happy Week

Print by Mary Kate McDevitt

I know I suggested a Thrifted Kitchen would be up and running on Friday, alas, I took all the photos only to realize my camera cord has gone missing. I looked for it all weekend and have no idea where it went, so I'm going to do one more sweep today, and if nothing turns up, I'll have to order another! Then the deliciousness of a perfect pumpkin dessert will be mine to share! (Mua-ha-ha.)

Hope you had a great weekend.

10.17.2012

Craftoberfest Is Where It's At


I don't know what your plans are tomorrow night, but if you live in the St. Louis area, you're going to want to come hang out at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company after work. Why? Because it's time for Craftoberfest, baby! My friend Chelsie of Fable + Lore has been a busy bee getting this little show together, and it's going to be really amazing. Urban Chestnut's new biergarten will be open, and there will be 20+ vendors selling handmade and vintage goodies, free snacks, live music, luminaries to set the fall mood, a special brew by Urban Chestnut and a DIY table for people who aren't too tipsy to get crafty themselves. :)

Visit the Craftoberfest site for more information and a list of vendors, then hop over to the Facebook page and let us know you're coming! It's seriously going to be so much fun, and please stop by and say hi if you're there!

10.15.2012

Style Spots :: Here and There

Well, I am back from another unplanned blog hiatus. Friday was busy with a photo shoot, then prepping for the two shows I had this weekend, followed by an amazing comeback victory by the Cardinals (woo-hoo!). Saturday I was out in O'Fallon all day, then went to our friends' housewarming party. (Jessica, if you're reading this, your house is amazingly cute and I love your stylish eye!). Then Sunday I got to participate in the Dutchtown Harvest Festival, which was a ton of fun! I got to meet some really passionate people, and Holly got to hang out with her buddy The ReTrailer. I mean, look how cute they are together!


Last night the hubs and I watched the Redbirds...or I guess I should say the hubs, because I apparently passed out on the couch around the third inning and didn't wake up until the game was over (oops). So this morning I'm finally feeling rested after getting about 10 hours of sleep (heehee), and I'm SO excited to finally have another Style Spots post to share!

I might have mentioned that I got to do a lot of thrifting on our road trip last week, and while most of the haul went into the store, I did find some things to keep for myself. Most of it was clothing, which I think I'll share later this week when I have more time to photograph them, but I did find some other goodies, too...

A green Vera scarf that's sewn together at the ends, but I can't tell if it was made that way or someone did it themselves?

A really pretty orange-and-white Vera scarf.

Two of my favorite country ladies: Patsy and Dolly. Found these albums in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

And a ceramic pig's head I found in Salt Lake City. I named him Figaro. He'll join Elsie in the kitchen. :)

I also went to a couple estate sales and one thrift store this past Friday and found these two little guys, which brings my brass partridge family up to six members...


And a mismatched set of vintage dessert/app plates to use for the dessert/tea parties I hope to hold with Holly in the future. I love, love, love finding instant collections like this!


How about you guys? How was your weekend, and did you score any goodies? Would love to hear about it!

10.12.2012

Snapshots From the Road + Weekend Events

Hey all! Well we're back from our six-day excursion across part of the country, and I'm kind of mourning the loss of that time off already. Seems like life has a way of just stockpiling things for you to attend to when you return from a break, and I have been a busy little bee in the last day and a half. Today will be prep for two different shows on Saturday and Sunday, one in O'Fallon (Missouri) and the other over in Dutchtown. But more on that later. Right now, for those of you who don't follow on Instagram, I wanted to share some photos I snapped during our trip. Per usual, they're mostly food-related... :)

It all started with my meeting the hubs out in L.A. He was working and had to drive the work van back to St. Louis, so the whole trip idea came about from that situation. We decided we'd drive a route we hadn't before so we could see Utah and Wyoming and, more importantly, our little niece Nora in Omaha.


This is me waiting at LAX for my checked bag. In the past two years, it seems I've lost my ability to pack light, which isn't the most fun when you use vintage luggage that doesn't have wheels. Oh, and remember these shoes from several weeks ago? Yeah, I have them in black and red now....


The bonus of my having lived in L.A. for several years is I am not stranded if I don't have a car (which I didn't). As soon as I got to the hotel, I dropped my things and headed for the nearest Big Blue Bus stop and grabbed the 3, which landed me a two-minute walk from the deliciousness you see above. I always get the grilled cheese, which is essentially everything you get on a regular burger sans the patty. It's the best bun with lettuce, tomato and cheese (and their special sauce) that you'll ever have. Promise.

After In-N-Out I was rescued from another bus ride by my good friend and bridesmaid, The Swan. Or at least that's what we call her. She and I hung out all afternoon catching up, then headed to Farmshop in Brentwood for dinner for one of those splurge meals. As is the norm in this fair city, the lighting in the restaurant was very dim, which didn't lend itself to phone camera photos, but it was delish.


The next morning, the hubs and I went to what was our favorite breakfast place in Santa Monica, The OP Cafe. I was surprised and a little wary at first to see how much it had changed, cosmetically speaking, but the food was the same, thankfully. Now that I only get it on occasion, I have a one-track mind when it comes to ordering....


Which means breakfast tacos. These babies are the real deal.


The cafe is next to a car repair shop that always has some sweet classic car sitting in the lot, and this time I got to drool over this pink Cadillac.


On our way out of town, we had to stop at Union Station for the hubs's work. The building is so pretty.


We finally got on the road and stopped for lunch in Las Vegas, to which I had never been. I've heard it's depressing in the daylight, and those rumors are true. But at least I got to see some cool buildings, starting with Lady Liberty Jr. up there.


And then The Flamingo, which was my favorite. I LOVE all those feathers above the sign.


The Sahara sat sad and empty, which breaks my hearts considering I'm a huge Sinatra fan and this was one of his regular hangouts. The hubs and I decided someone should buy it and reclaim its glory days, where you can't get in unless the lads are in tuxes and the ladies are dressed to the nines. Inside all the classy people will listen to live entertainment in the style of the 40s and 50s, dine on delicious food and drink martinis and scotch. In the words of Liz Lemon: "I want to go to there."


After we had what turned out to be an early dinner, above it was it looked like as we left Las Vegas.


We stayed in Park City for two nights, which was probably my favorite stop on the trip. It was the perfect time to go because it was cold, but since there wasn't any snow yet, it wasn't crazy crowded. Saturday morning we ate breakfast at The Eating Establishment, and it was my favorite meal of the trip. The hubs was fairly certain he spotted several X-Gamers while we were there, so I think he liked it, too.


I had the huevos rancheros, and they were divine! The hubs, of course, had chicken-fried steak. And afterward we walked around town for a little bit. I found this amazing vintage dress at a consignment shop, which I'll hopefully model sometime soon. And afterward we drove into Salt Lake City for a day of "work" for me, which means lots of thrifting. I picked up some really great stuff for the store.


We had dinner at Em's before we went back to Park City. The salad and dessert were really yummy...


Not a great pic, but I had to share: chocolate chunk brownie with a pecan-bourbon ice cream on top.


The next morning we hit the road again and happened upon some warm, gooey cinnamon rolls baked fresh at this gas station.


Wyoming was gorgeous in that pure, unsettled way. Lots of mountains and plains and herds of antelope and sheep. I think it was the most peaceful part of the trip. We didn't do much talking because we were too busy taking in the beauty around us.


Haha. A reluctant photo subject.


The place for ranchwear in Cheyenne...


My favorite sign along the main strip in town. Maybe we'll stay here next time...


I picked up Mortimer here somewhere in Laramie to bring home and join his new brother and sister magnets on the fridge...


This was the best part of the whole trip!A grainy photo, but I just had to share. My little niece Nora, all snuggled up in Omaha. Haven't seen her since she was born in August, and she just make my heart sing. Such a sweetie!


On our way through Columbia, the ol' alma mater, we had to stop at El Rancho for lunch. The hubs and I spent many a late-night date here right before we all moved to L.A., so it was fun to be back there, still ordering the same things...feeling young again. :)



I get the same thing most every time: chips and guac and beans and rice. Then load it all up on a chip and go to town! Yum, yum.

Now...onto the shows this weekend! Tomorrow, for those of you out in O'Fallon, Mo., I'll be at the O'Fallon Fall Fest in Civic Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and would love to see your shining faces! Then on Sunday I'll be at the Dutchtown Harvest Festival in Marquette Park from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. This one is a "food" event, so there will be loads of yummy things to try, and then once your tummy is full, come and try on some vintage frocks to fill out your closet. :)

Hope to see you this weekend!

10.05.2012

On the Road Again


Hello my dears! I'm typing up this post from sunny California, where I flew yesterday to meet the hubs and drive back to the Lou with him. We're taking a little vacay on the way, driving from LA to Park City, Utah, along the south border of Wyoming to Cheyenne, then stopping in Omaha to see our niece and finally back to St. Louis.

Both of us are in need of some major R&R, so I'm going to take another break until Thursday to enjoy the scenery. I know I sucked with posts this week, but I also know you all have patient hearts. :)

Have a wonderful, wonderful week!

10.03.2012

Fav Freebie :: Botanicus


Doesn't that have such a lovely 1960s horror film feel? Botanicus! Where all the plants have decided we've killed enough of them and are now taking over the world! Or maybe it's a futuristic one where we all gradually turn into plant people! I'd want to be the one that shoots poisonous darts...

For now, though, Botanicus is a trove of treasures for those of you who like vintage and antique botanical prints. I came across it last week while reading the Curbly blog, and when I found out it's through our very own Missouri Botanical Garden, I was thrilled! I always love it when a slice of St. Louis makes it's way into some of the big blogs.


It took me a little while to figure out how to navigate the site (I'm not the most tech-savvy, so save me the "You're an idiot" line if you get into the archive and have no problems), but what I found is easiest is to start at the Subject tab and click on one of the words that seems appealing, then click on one of the titles (the database is a digital archive of rare horticulture books), and then on the left you'll see an outline of said book, and the images (if there are some) are marked either "illustration," "Plate" or "Pl." That way you can avoid having to go page by page to find them, unless of course you want to read an account of foxglove and its medical uses.


If you find an image you like, you'll have to download the PDF of the whole text to get it. There is a download button that runs across the bar just above the scanned images, so click that and save it to your desktop. Then you can print whichever pages you want!

Now go crazy!

10.01.2012

Happy Week

via Cakies

I AM ALIVE! :) I know. You'd given up on me. You were shaking your fist at your Google Reader each time you saw there were no new posts (or at least in my blogging dreams you did). But I have finally returned after what has been a crazy-busy week and a half. I won't bore you with all the details, but it culminated with my first appearance at Strange Folk Festival, which was two days of nothing but fun. Holly and I had a great setup and it was so fun to meet and talk with so many people, especially those of you who read this blog; I truly treasure meeting you all! It's always very encouraging. :)

With the show happening, I didn't really do any thrifting this weekend (except for a mad dash at Value Village Saturday night to try and restock Holly's shelves), so let's just start this Monday with some encouraging words (above). Have a fabulous day!
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