Meet Me at Green With Indie

Have you all heard about the amazing Green With Indie show happening in a couple weeks? I'm SO excited because a) Holly finally gets to come out of hibernation and stretch her big ol' wheels, and b) I just love the idea behind GWI, which is all the vendors have to be selling something "green," whether that means they use sustainable resources, upcycle things into other things, recycle items (which is essentially what vintage is) or whatever other techniques do something positive for this little world we're all sharing.

Anyway...Holly and I will be parked outside the gym, alongside a couple local food trucks, so do stop by, say hi and meet Miss Holly! Here are the pertinent details:

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, March 9
Where: Webster University's Grant Gym, 175 Edgar Road
Event Page Info: http://www.facebook.com/events/130134817150432/

See you there!


The Thrifted Kitchen :: Lemon Snowdrops

As you might imagine by my complete lack of posts last week, it was a busy past six days. I'm still in the throes of getting the Spring Fling in the City event together (it's going to be SO much fun, you guys, so make sure you RSVP!), and then my in-laws came to visit over the weekend, which is always a good time. We ate some delicious food at Pastaria (clearly, our new favorite), went to the Art Museum and Friday night we saw Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder at the Sheldon. I haven't listened to bluegrass very much in the past, but I think I'm 100% converted into making it a regular genre on my iPod (and, more importantly, in our vinyl collection). The performance was absolutely amazing, and I highly encourage you to check out his work.

We unfortunately were shorted one night of hanging out with the hubs's parents due to the snow storm on Thursday, and I guess that was in the back of my mind when I decided to bake some cookies that night. We just got these beautiful organic lemons from our Green Bean Delivery produce box, and I am such a sucker for lemony desserts, so I hit the thrifted cookbooks in search of the perfect recipe.

I landed on a variation of Betty Crocker's English tea cakes called lemon snowdrops. Little balls of dough infused with lemon juice and zest, chopped nuts, and then rolled in powdered sugar once they've cooled from their time in the oven. The outside is a little crunchy, which I liked, and the inside has a softer shortbread texture. Overall, a nice bright bite during the chilly winter months!

One trick I've learned about coating things in powdered sugar: Once the cookies are cooled, take a third of them and put them in a paper bag; add about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar; then twist the bag shut and kind of roll it around in your hands (instead of shaking the bag) for about 6 or 7 turns.  This keeps all the mess in the bag and the cookies get an even layer of the sugar, too. Just add more sugar, as needed, as you finished coating the other 2/3 of the batch.


Lemon Snowdrops
Courtesy of Better Crocker's Picture Cookbook, 1950
Yields about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

1/2 soft shortening (or 1/4 cup softened butter)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup chopped nuts

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix shortening (or butter), sugar, egg, lemon juice and water together thoroughly.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in to wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.

With a spatula or wooden spoon, mix in lemon rind and chopped nuts.

Cover stand mixer bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough in refrigerator. (Mine chilled for several hours, but I think at least an hour should do it.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll dough into balls (mine were about the size of a large gum ball) and place on baking sheets (I put about 15 per sheet, and then had to bake two lonely extras by themselves after the other two batches were finished).

Bake for 12 minutes or until edges/tops start to brown.

Cool on racks and then coat in powdered sugar.


Style Spots for You

So I'm finally getting around to adding some clothing to the online store! (Hooray!) This week it's coats, blazers and sweaters. Next week, I'll have loads and loads of vintage accessories, dresses, skirts and vintage baby clothes!

As always, if you're local and see something that you like, email me at secondhandwithstyle(at)gmail(dot)com to making a private shopping appointment to check it out!

Shacking Up With the Styleses :: Living Room Update

As promised, I thought it was about time to share some updates I did to the living a couple weeks ago while the hubs was gone for a week on business. Whenever he's gone an extended amount of time, I also have this urge to drastically change something around our apartment, and I have no idea why. Probably boredom...maybe even a little of "Hey, I can make some design decisions while he's gone and there's nothing he can do about it!" (Hee hee.)

This overhaul was the manifestation of a couple things I'd been wanting to do for a while: 1) change the wall color to a bright white, and 2) make the arched wall an accent one with black-and-white stripes.

One of the only downsides to living in these big beautiful brick homes in the city is that some rooms just don't get much natural light since they're sandwiches between other buildings just as tall. As such, our dining room is always very dim, and the living comes to a close second. So, I thought picking the brightest white I could find would help open the room up a bit more from the pale peachy color it's been since we moved in.

The black-and-white wall is what I'm trying to make the room's "neutral" so I can try to bring all the crazy colors together that I've collected in there, most recently Big Blue — a beautiful 1960s blue velvet tufted couch I found on Craigslist some months ago. She pretty much my dream couch, so we made sure to give her a little makeover to help her last for all time, including cutting new cushions and attaching some taller feet so she'd be level with our other couch.

Our other little DIY project was our new coffee table, made from two printer trays that have been sitting around the house for more than a year and some hairpin legs I poached from a side table we were going to donate to the local thrift. The hubs made a brace of 2x4s on the bottom to hold it together, and then I ordered some tabletop glass to fit on top. I couldn't be more happy with how it turned out!

The only areas I'm still trying to figure are is the "bar area" in front of the brick wall and a big bunch of empty wall space in the corner to the right of Big Blue. Our bar cart is just kind of dwarfed by it, so I'd like to put toward the right and have something else balance it on the left, but can't quite figure out what. Any ideas? Or I might just try and find a bigger bar cart. We shall see. As for the wall space, I might move the black-and-white canvas to the left a little and maybe put a little collage of S's or some other kind of wall pieces on there to help take up more space. Again, we shall see.

Have any of you been doing some DIY around your house lately? Would love to hear what kinds of projects you've been inspired to take on!

Style Spots For Me

Happy Friday, m'dears! I'm checking in from the lovely city of Omaha, where we're spending the day watching my little niece Nora, who is already almost 6 months old (and our other little one, Phoebe, just turned 6 months!). It's amazing how quickly they're growing up!

But while baby sleeps, I thought I'd pop in and share some fun things with you today. First up, are the deliciously vintage items I scooped up last weekend via estate sales and thrift stores. I know I missed sharing things from the weekend before last when I visited Springfield, and of course forgot to photograph them this week, but I'll remember one of these days. :)

Then be sure to pop back in throughout the day to see some newly listed items in the store (Style Spots for you!!) and the almost-finished, newly revamped living room, complete with a black-and-white striped wall.

That's right, it's an unprecedented three posts in one day! Clearly I'm going loco! :)

Here's what I snatched up for me this past weekend:

Some black-and-white fabric that pretty much mimics our newly painted wall. I'm going to make some pillow covers from it to help tie things in together.

A really cute vintage milk glass tiered stand for the vintage tea parties we're going to start hosting this spring!

Some short red cowboy boots that I just love. I've really been embracing the dress/sweater tights/cowboy boots combo this winter.

A vintage orange Melmac set with cups, bowls and saucers. I'm starting to gather pieces for the vintage picnics we'll be throwing this summer!

Some beautiful floral teacups for the tea parties...

And some dessert/appetizer plates to go with them...

And a pretty platter to top it all off! :)

Your turn! What goodies did you find this past weekend during your thrifting adventures? Feel free to link to your thrifting blog posts below, or leave a comment and tell us all what you found that will make us soon with envy! :)


Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Day of Love, all! Whether you're married, dating or single, I hope that you find ways to give and receive love today; be thankful for the people in your life and those who have passed through; and look forward to the wonderful things waiting for you in the days, weeks, months and years to come! :)

I'm headed to Omaha today to visit my bro, sis-in-law and, most importantly, my little niece Nora! But be sure and check in tomorrow for a couple Style Spots (that's right...two!) and a peek at some redecorating I did while the hubs was away on a business trip.

Until then!


The Thrifted Kitchen :: Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

This past Friday, the hubs returned from his week-long business trip in L.A. and Vegas, and demanded a cake with filling and butter frosting. Usually this translates to a white almond cake he fancies from Baking Illustrated, but I have to say, it's not my favorite. If I bake something, for it to not have chocolate seems like a sin!

So we met in the middle and I made a sour cream chocolate cake from The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook that belonged to my great-grandmother; I still had some filling left over from those Hungarian Chocolate Hearts, so I put that between the layers; and then topped it with a vanilla-almond butter frosting.

Overall, it was pretty good, but the cake part is pretty light, which isn't my favorite, either (I know...I'm picky with my desserts!). I knew it would be from the get-go since it uses sour cream instead of butter, and the egg whites are whipped, but the richness of the frosting does help give it some weight. And if you're lucky enough to have some homemade salted caramel bourbon sauce that your cousin made you for Christmas, that really sends it over the top! :)

The only issue I had was with the first step, where you melt the chocolate with water. The chocolate seized up on me, and I added some butter and cream to help relax it, but to no avail. Next time, I might just melt the chocolate in a double boiler or another method I know works well. So do keep that in mind!

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake
Courtesy of The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
Yields one 9-inch, two-layer cake

2 one-ounce squares, unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup hot water
3 beaten egg yolks
1 cup thick sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 stiff-beaten egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt chocolate in water over low heat; cool. (Or use whatever method you prefer for melting the chocolate).

Beat egg yolks with cream; gradually add sugar and beat vigorously until thick. Add chocolate mixture and vanilla, mixing well.

Sift flour, soda and salt together 3 times; add to cream mixture, beating until smooth. Fold in egg whites.

Bake in two paper-lined 9-inch round cake pans for 20-25 minutes.

Vanilla-Almond Butter Frosting
1/4 cup butter
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons cream

Thoroughly cream butter and sugar. Stir in extracts. Add cream and mix until combined (you can add more cream to get the consistency you want).


The Thrifted Kitchen :: Hungarian Chocolate Hearts

Happy Friday, all! We're less than a week away from V-Day, and for those of you still looking for a special treat to whip up for your special someone, well...have I got the recipe for you!

This one comes from Volume 4 of the Family Circle Illustrated Guide to Cooking (circa 1972), and it's a recipe for Hungarian chocolate squares (or, in this case, hearts!). And let me tell you: If all Hungarian desserts taste like this, then I'm about to book a flight. These babies are rich and decadent, almost truffle-like (as my friend Allison put it...thank you, The Swan), and, served with a glass of Bailey's on the rocks, will have your date swooning over sweets skills.

Some things to note:

– Don't freak out if the cake part doesn't rise very much (as I did). And don't think it's too thin to slice in half crosswise, because it is. Just remember the thickness comes from the filling.

– Be sure and use decaf coffee, not caf, like I did. I had one that night I made them and didn't sleep well at all because my head was buzzing.

– When it says to spread the frosting quickly, that is no joke. Once the frosting starts to thicken, it doesn't stop, and if you go too slow, it'll get to a point where it won't spread anymore. So make sure the spatula work is speedy!

Hungarian Chocolate Hearts
Courtesy of the Family Circle Illustrated Guide to Cooking, Volume 4, 1972
Makes 8 two-inch heart sandwiches

For the cake:
3 squares unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2/3 cup sifted cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the filling:
10 ounces semisweet chocolate squares
2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (I used Bailey's)

For the frosting:
1 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup hot coffee (make it decaf or your head will be buzzing in bed!)
6 squares semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur

Make the cake:
Melt chocolate in top of a double boiler over hot water; cool to lukewarm.

Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; line with wax paper; grease paper.

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until foamy-white and double in volume. Beat in 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until meringue stands in soft peaks.

Beat butter in a large bowl; gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until mixture is well-blended. Beat in egg yolks until smooth, then cooled chocolate. Sift flour and salt into chocolate mixture; stir to blend; add vanilla.

Stir 1/3 of the meringue mixture into chocolate mixture; fold in remaining meringue mixture until well-blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake in a 350-degree oven 15 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched with fingertip.

Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes; loosen cake around edges of pan with a sharp knife; invert cake onto a large cookie sheet; peel off wax paper; invent cake onto a large cake rack; cool completely.

Make the filling:
Cut semisweet chocolate into small pieces. Combine with cream in a medium-size saucepan. Heat slowly, stirring constantly, until chocolate melts; remove from heat; stir in coffee liqueur. Pour into medium-size bowl and chill 1 1/2 hours or until mixture is completely cold.

Beat chilled chocolate-cream mixture until stiff and thick.

Cut cooled cake in half crosswise. Place one half on a small cookie sheet. Top with whipped chocolate cream, spreading to make a layer about 1 1/2 inches thick; top with second half of cake. Chill at least 1 hour, or until filling is firm.

Make frosting:
Heat sugar and coffee in a medium-size saucepan until sugar dissolves. Cut chocolate into small pieces; add to saucepan with corn syrup. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; cook, at a slow boil, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add butter and coffee liqueur. Beat 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Quickly spread over cake layer about 1/4-inch thick. Chill at least 1 hour.

To serve, cut cake into heart shapes with cookie cutter and sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional).


Fav Freebie :: Mini Valentines

A couple days ago I stumbled across the A Pair of Pears site (soooo cute!), and on it were these very cute (and nicely designed) Valentine printables that they had shared last year. Sad I missed it then, but very glad I saw it now! So I thought I'd pass them along to you all in case you're looking for some cuties to print out and give to friends (maybe along with some baked treats, as P of P suggested?).

Click here to hop on over and download the files!
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