Simple, Spiritual, Outdated Living in a Vintage New England Home on the Southern Coast of Maine

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Something Unexpected

Since November 2014, after I knew I would be getting divorced, I have been visiting the Marie Joseph Spiritual Center in Biddeford Pool, Maine for monthly non-denominational spiritual counseling with a wonderful, wise, compassionate nun.

After the two plus inches of spring snow yesterday, the warming sunshine felt so good! The scent of the sea was soothing.

I dined with some of the nuns at noon and told them about the cook book I'm about to publish. They have many guests who eat gluten-free, and they sent their chef over to talk to me. She was very enthusiastic about my book which was lovely to hear. I'm going to gift her a free copy that she said she'll use to cook for future guests. That made me feel great! Then she told me she has a box full of old cook books she no longer uses, and would I like to take some home?

Wow! I picked through and came home with these paperback delights:

One of the takeaways from cooking for and writing Thrifty Vintage Gluten-Free Recipes is that I have scaled back significantly on my meat intake and love it. Moving forward I plan to test and post many more vegetarian dishes from the 1960s and 70s, a groovy time for veggie cookery. Looks like there may be some goodies in here!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

1960s Vintage Recipe: Bacon & Broccoli Quiche (Leave out the bacon for a vegetarian dish!)

Quiche gained popularity in America in the late 60s and 1970s and I ate it often growing up in New York City. My aunt used to make it for me and it was a regular menu staple at home and local restaurants. For my inspiration I used a March 1969 Ladies Home Journal recipe as a starting point:

Looking at it the ingredients, 2 cups of milk seemed excessive and that was confirmed after I added one cup per quiche. I like mushrooms when they are sauteed but with a quiche being so rich I decided to add parboiled broccoli instead; I love broccoli with eggs and cheese! I like nutmeg but not in a quiche so I omitted that. As for "mock" bacon, I opted for turkey bacon in the quiche instead of sprinkled on top per the original directions. For saltiness I knew that the bacon would be adding sodium so 1/4 tsp is plenty. Salt can always be added later.

Ingredients for Turkey Bacon and Broccoli quiche:

Gluten-free 9" butter pastry crust from my own recipe in my upcoming Kindle cook book Thrifty Vintage Gluten-Free Recipes: 860 calories
3 oz thinly sliced Swiss cheese: 330 calories
1 cup whole milk: 150 calories
3 large organic eggs: 210 calories
1 tbsp oat flour: 30 calories
1/4 tsp salt
4 slices cooked and chopped turkey bacon: 140 calories
1 cup chopped parboiled broccoli florets: 30 calories

I decided to make two quiches so I doubled the recipe. I'm good with quiche two nights in a row!

Line the bottom of the pasty with the thin slices of Swiss, breaking them apart as needed so that the cheese completely covers the bottom. Then add the bacon and broccoli.

In a bowl add the eggs, milk, flour and salt, and either with a whisk or an electric mixer on low combine the ingredients until well blended and pour into the pie crusts.

Bake at 375 for about forty minutes. Test with a toothpick in the center.

As prepared 1/4 of a quiche has about 440 calories. It's really good cold, too! I agree with the original recipe-- it's lovely served with a tossed salad but I prefer it without bread due to the added calories.

Before you go, it's not too late to enter to win a free copy of my upcoming cook book!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Record Store Day: Graham Nash at Bull Moose in Scarborough, Maine!

 Graham Nash with a Moxie, Maine's official soft drink.

I love Graham Nash, and was thrilled that he came to my town to kick off Record Store Day yesterday! He just dropped a new album, This Path Tonight, and was there to sign copies. I knew the line would be very long so I got there at 11:00 a.m. for his 1:00 p.m. arrival. Fortunately I'm a skilled line-waiter from my years of waiting for estate sales to open, but even so, things can get boring unless you have fun people in line with you.

It turned out that the Maine band, Hilton Park, was standing in line, too, and they broke out into an impromptu jam!

I spent the rest of the time talking with a mother and her adult son standing behind me who are both big Graham Nash fans. He was nice enough to take the photo of me with Graham with my cell phone (below). We discussed if we would have him just sign his name or personalize it. Because I have an unusual name it throws people off, so I thought I definitely wanted him to personalize mine. Would he say anything?

I was twelfth in line, and quickly it was my turn! I spelled my name out for him, giddy that I'm actually meeting him after knowing him through his music, mostly recently from his early album, Songs for Beginners, which helped get me through my divorce.

"A....v as in victory...e...r...y...l." (People often hear "v" as "b" which has had me become Aberyl, among countless misspellings.)

"That's an interesting name. How did that come about?"

"My parents were hippies..."

He looked up at me intently and replied: "We all are...We're all hippies."

I just love that!! And we all smiled, including the Bull Moose employee standing by.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Vintage 1950s Recipe: No Bake Gluten-Free Chocolate Coconut Pie Crust

Doesn't that look really good?!

I had to try it. Today. Here's how I made it:

2 oz unsweetened carob chips: 280 calories
2 tbsp butter: 200 calories
2 tbsp whole milk: 20 calories
1/4 cup confectioners sugar: 120 calories
1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill shredded coconut: 800 calories

As you can see I cut back on the sugar, yet it still tasted sweet enough. 

Chocolate gives me a headache, so for years I have been using carob in place of it when able. (I do eat and bake with chocolate on occasion, though.) Even if you have a harmonious (or perhaps complicated) relationship with chocolate, consider trying carob sometime anyway. Besides being delicious, it has some impressive benefits

"Carob contains chemicals called tannins, which decrease the effectiveness of certain substances (enzymes) that help with digestion. Carob might cause weight loss, reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, and lower cholesterol levels." 


I wanted to use Baker's Angel Flake coconut just like the old ad because cooking with vintage brands can sometimes feel warm and fuzzy. That is, until you read the labels and compare. There's a vintage unopened can of Baker's Angel Flake Coconut on ebay. Here are the ingredients: 

Just coconut with added sugar. Today?

What?? Why??

While the Baker's Angel Flakes look so much prettier in the finished pie crust as opposed to unsweetened no additive shredded coconut I used, it doesn't fit with eating retro. If it requires FDA approval and wasn't in the food supply in the 1950s or earlier I avoid it when possible. Don't you wish you had a time capsule food pantry in your kitchen? I always try to get as close to that as possible.

I melted the carob chips and butter in a double boiler.

I combined the milk and sugar before mixing it into the melted carob. See how chocolatey it looks?!

I removed the pot from the heat and mixed in the coconut.

I spooned it into a lightly greased pie plate and flattened it with a wet spoon. It wasn't long before the crust started to cool and harden.

I know, my crust isn't as pretty as the illustration. The coconut doesn't have the fluffy volume and festive squiggly lattice-like appearance. Also, I should have flattened it out more so it had more coverage in the pie plate. Because it began to set so quickly I was unable to keep working on it without it crumbling. But so what?! It tastes really good! But hey, if you know of additive-free coconut flakes that look like those dreamy Angel Flakes, please let me know!

1/8th of pie crust has about 180 calories as prepared. (Here's how I filled it.)

By the way, you can win a free copy of my book due out May 1st! Click here for details.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Coming May 1st, 2016! Win a free copy of my Kindle cook book!

My Kindle cook book will be published May 1st! You can see more about the book here, including photos of what you'll learn how to create! On May 1st I will also provide a link to the Amazon product page once my book is live and available for purchase.

You do not need a Kindle to read my book! You can download it onto your phone!

You can win a free copy!

All you have to do is leave a comment below indicating you would like to win a copy along with your first name and last initial. I will randomly select the winner on Saturday April 30th, and will announce the winner here May 1st. You will need to contact me via the online contact form by May 5th to claim your copy by providing a valid email address. If only one person enters, then they win. No minimum number of entrants required. (Well, at least one entrant!)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Traditional Maine Baked Beans: A Vintage Vegetarian Recipe

Baked beans and Church bean "suppahs" are a big part of Maine's food culture. They are healthy, wholesome, nutritious, economical and very tasty. Although simple to make they do take quite a bit of time in the oven. The trade-off is a delicious staple that can be stretched out for many meals.

The recipe I'm sharing was adapted from Flavorfull Maine Baked Bean Recipes published  by The Maine Department of Agriculture sometime in the 1970s.

Maine Vegetarian Baked Beans Ingredients:

16 oz dry small red beans: 1,500 calories
2 tbsp butter: 200 calories
2 tbsp unrefined coconut sugar: 35 calories
1/4 cup molasses: 240 calories
1/2 cup chopped onion: 35 calories
1 tbsp spicy mustard: 10 calories
1 tsp salt

Spill your beans into a large bowl, pot or dutch oven. Sort through them to check for small stones or other organic material that sometimes makes its way into bagged beans.

Cover with water and soak overnight. In the morning pour the beans and water into a sieve over the sink, rinse the beans off with cold water, then place them in a pot safe to use on both the stove top and oven (ideally cast iron). Add enough water to just cover the beans.

Bring the beans to a boil, skim foam off of the surface, turn down the heat and let the beans simmer covered for about thirty minutes. Turn off the heat and do not drain the water from the pot. We want to retain the flavor and nutrition in the thick broth. Add the butter to the still-hot broth and mix it in.

Next add the molasses, coconut sugar, mustard, onions and salt. Mix it together until it looks like a pot of bean soup.

Cover and place in a preheated 300 degree oven for three hours. Check the beans halfway through to make sure they aren't drying out; if necessary add more water. Turn off the oven at three hours but leave the pot of beans in for another two hours. This is what they look like in the pot when ready:

Sweet, tender baked beans await! If they are watery they need more time baking. I want to add that I have seen many baked bean recipes online that show them in either a watery or thick sauce. I've always preferred the traditional, slow baked method that yields a moist bean without a bean gravy.

Traditionally, baked beans are served with a brown bread but cornbread compliments them nicely, too. Leftover baked beans can be reheated and served on toast for breakfast and/or eaten cold in a sandwich for lunch. Yum!

As prepared the pot of beans has 2,020 calories.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Cheerful things for a snowy, brisk Maine spring Sunday

Early this morning it was snowing and in the low 30s. Now it's past noon and despite the blustery winds gusting up to 50 mph the sun has since shown the gloom who's boss! I can hear birds chirping away outside, too. Because the Maine winters are long, I love orange, yellow and green in my kitchen and cookery. They really can cheer a Maine gal up.

I made the chopped salad/relish above from gherkins (baby pickles), celery, grape tomatoes and organic corn kernels. I plan to have it with the leftover traditional Maine baked beans I made (all day) yesterday. That recipe will be posted this week. 

Here are a few more cheery things happening:

I had been using alleged stainless steel imported banal (nothing pretty about them; all function) utensils in my cooking for the past ten years. Curious after my recent forage for lead in my kitchenware I looked for any manufacturer, country of origin or metal identification markings on them and noticed there were none. The only indication that they were even made of stainless steel was a sticker on the bottom of the canister they came in. Really?! I don't even recall where I had purchased them. They were recently replaced with the vintage stainless USA made Ekco above.

Tiny Tim just enjoyed some clementine:

He uses his paw to hold it down while he takes a bite, and then shakes his head as he eats it.

Lastly, this makes me chuckle. It's from the packaging of my new 1960s Harvest Gold Lazy Susan. Here is the BEFORE:

So yeah, clearly there are some problems here! I'm not sure Rubbermaid can solve her deeper underlying issues. And after?

Nothing Rubbermaid organizers and coffee(? what's in that cup of cheer) can't solve!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Antique Recipe: Almond Butter Cake

Adapted and made gluten-free with whole grains and unrefined sugar from a recipe for Almond Cake in The Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer.


1/2 cup unsalted butter: 400 calories
1/2 cup unrefined coconut sugar: 430 calories
1/3 cup whole milk: 50 calories
2 large organic eggs: 140 calories
1 cup oat flour: 480 calories
1/3 cup tapioca four: 135 calories
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup Barney Butter Premium California Almond Flour: 320 calories
1/2 tbsp powdered sugar: 15 calories

The Boston Cooking School Cook Book was first published in 1896 with subsequent editions updated over the decades.

First step (and there aren't that many because this is truly a simple recipe) is to cream the butter and coconut sugar. Beat the two eggs in a separate bowl by hand until well beaten. Add the eggs and the milk to the mix and blend with a wooden spoon. Sift the oat and tapioca flours along with the baking powder while mixing with a spoon until well blended. Pour the batter into a greased 8" cake pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the center to ensure it comes out dry to know it's done. Place on a cooling rack, and when plated, place the powdered sugar in a sieve and sprinkle a coating on the top of the cake.

This cake is buttery and very moist. The almond flour really adds a groovy flavor and texture.

Makes eight slices with about 250 calories each.

Next vintage recipe: Vegetarian Maine Baked Beans!

Disclosure:  Barney Butter, a company that specializes in almond butters and flour, kindly sent me some free samples to use for this recipe.