Showing posts from November, 2015

Downsized to 7 Feet, 121 Branches, 150+ Ornaments

There was a time when my Christmas tree was a small, plastic model I purchased at Woolworth's in the 1970s. Money was tight so it was the best I could do. I adorned it with red Satin balls and listened to Christmas music on my clock radio. It's what's behind my passion for collecting and maybe a little over the top decorating.

Over the past fifteen years of picking I've devoted a lot of time to scavenging for Christmas decorations. Sometimes I was lucky and scored a bunch of packed boxes from an attic; other times it was a lone ornament, but bought it anyway and kept adding to my collection (I have a basement for storage, thankfully). That all led to putting up two vintage aluminum trees, filling my home with vintage holiday decor on every shelf, making my sunroom a Christmas winter wonderland and hosting holiday parties. 
It was all too much!The season was a whir of activity but I never got to really appreciate itor the decorations I prized.Then it was time to pack th…

Happy Thanksgiving!


How to Stuff a Turkey + Vintage Recipes: Basic Stuffing, Salt Pork Stuffing, Oyster Stuffing

I was looking through my collection of cook booklets (I have so many I've bought at estate sales over the years that I'm not sure of what's in my library) I came across one completely dedicated to stuffing! "Stuffing Sampler" was published in 1958 by the American Institute of Baking and contains a handy how-to:

For the Birds: This is How to Stuff and Truss Them:
There's a Basic Stuffing and Roasting Guide for different sized birds:

If you're looking for something different this year, here's a recipe for seafood lovers: OYSTER Stuffing!

Now let's back up a second! Do you see that? A 5-7 pound turkey?? I've never been able to get anything smaller than 12 pounds, even when selecting from "organic" birds! This reminds of my "Skinny Chicks" post where I compared a 1950s chicken:

To THIS:  

It really illustrates the differences in how our food is treated and raised! Not exactly appetizing! Sorry. Ok, on to the next recipe, this o…

Bittersweet Holiday Blues

This is not an easy time of year for many people, and it will be a bittersweet time for me.  It will be my first holiday divorced. It was finalized this summer after sixteen years of marriage. 

Do mirrors lie? This one does! And it may be coming to a retail store near YOU!

I attended a wedding over the weekend. I chatted with a lovely young couple during the reception who expressed an interest in my first and next book. They said they couldn't find a regular room in the hotel where they were staying so they ended up booking a bridal suite for the night. The next detail they shared after hearing about vanity sizing took me by surprise: Their suite has a slimming mirror! 
When I got home later I had to look that up. Maybe the mirror was simply warped? 
There is, in fact, a new mirror called "The Skinny Mirror," and the manufacturer purports to be selling "The Truth" to women because, they reveal, a woman's view of herself is skewed by the media and well, an honest mirror. "I'm not skinny enough" is one of the lies a woman believes, they claim. 
The same company sponsored a "double blind" study and put one of their mirrors in a "popular underwear retailer." They report that women were "…

Is Counting Calories An Eating Disorder? What About Intuitive Eating?*


What "Clean Eating" Means to Me. (It's Not What You Think)

The term "clean eating" didn't exist when I first started conceptualizing my book. When it became a new food fashion I thought it was a good start, but the idea that you could lose weight simply by eating minimally processed food and "portion control" without knowing the calories contained within it is, by vintage diet accounts, suspect. For example, a few handfuls of cashews, a calorie dense food, isn't dainty eating when compared to a healthy-sized bowl of oatmeal and raisins. Both are "clean" but calories have a way of going incognito. 
However, there's something more pressing for me: good housekeeping. I need my kitchen to sparkle (can I get the five second rule up to ten?) and food to be safely handled, and that means I like things to be literally clean. Yes, I do have a bit of a cootie phobia. So when I do go out to eat, I know that my standards of cleanliness need to relax somewhat. (During my college days I worked in food service so I…

My Guinea Pig Tiny Tim Loves His New Bed

This is Tiny Tim aka Timmy, the "failed foster" of mine (as in I agreed to foster him but then made him mine a few days later) that I adopted from the shelter almost two years ago. He was abused as a baby and suffered from severe head trauma which led to a skull fracture and being blinded in one eye. When I brought him home he was unable to walk without falling over due to vertigo. After a lot of love and rehab he is a happy, well adjusted boy despite some ongoing issues from his trauma.

I just bought him this new bed. Originally I was going to wait for Christmas but he deserves to be spoiled year-round. You can watch him and my other pigs (RIP Casper) in this little video of their holiday bash last year:

Unrelated, while going through some files I found a slip of paper with my old circa 1990s AOL email address and password. It still works. Kooky.

What does a typical day of my eating look like?

Blog reader Donna asked:
Could you share what could be a "typical" day of eating for you looks like? I know this question is really too broad since days can be so different and places you are at on any given day, can drastically change things up. Just wanting a glimpse of someone's routine - who achieved a wonderful goal. 
Thank you, Donna. You are correct in that every day will be different, but there are some general consistencies with my "typical" weekday menus which I'll point out after I show you yesterday's fare.
What I ate yesterday

Hot Breakfast 
Bowl of hot "old fashioned" oatmeal made with 1/2 cup oats (160 calories) with  a small half ounce box of raisins (50 calories)
Two whole large eggs (140 calories) with a tablespoon of heavy cream (50 calories) scrambled in a well-seasoned vintage cast iron pan with a half tablespoon of butter (50 calories).
450 calories
Mid-Morning Snack
Medium sized locally picked ppple

70 calories
Cold Lun…

Vintage 1950s Diet Advice: An All-You-Can-Eat Diet Food List!

Inside one of my vintage diet booklets from the 1950s is the "Choice-Of-Foods" diet from Knox Gelatine. As to be expected, aspics, food molds and other forms of "gel cookery" are an integral part of the diet and recipes are provided. In addition to the meals, gelatin drinks are touted as between meal snacks, such as a cold glass of gelatin with 3/4 cup fruit juice or, served hot when mixed with broth. The Knox "Booster" drink contains 3-6 tablespoons of dry milk. The Choice-Of-Foods diet, based on meal planning data from the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association, is promoted as time-saving because you don't have to count calories.
Three different diets are offered: total values of 1,200, 1,600 or 1,800 calories. Foods are grouped into seven different category lists: vegetables, breads, milk, fats, fruits, meats and snacks. Listings within each category are broken down into serving sizes that appear to have equal calorie…