Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thrifts of Terror: Viva Las Vegas

My friends went to Las Vegas and all I got was this lousy...Thing.

Photo cannot convey the craptastic plastic this is made of.

Sometimes whatever happens in Vegas just needs to stay there.

Seen at the Orange, CT Savers.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thrift Share Monday: The Glory of the iPhone

 I finally bit the bullet and got myself an iPhone.  Long story short, my Mom got one, then my best friend, and then I felt totally left out. So last Monday on my day off I went to the Verizon store and picked up my fancy new phone. I'm glad I did. The phone is great and Verizon will be switching to a tiered data plan system July 7th. Lock in that unlimited rate while you can Nerds. (Especially if you want to watch your Netflix.)

I'm well versed in iPhone app usage already, I've had an iPod Touch since the fall. But the iPod doesn't work everywhere like the iPhone. Like at Savers, which is next to my local Verizon store.  I spotted these mugs and thought wow, these look like they are by a modern designer.

Sure enough, I flip them over to find a signature in the pottery-always a good sign. Quick! To the interwebs! A quick check of eBay showed a couple of modern looking teapots. A google search came up with a link to another teapot on All good signs that I must purchase these mugs for $1 each. Subsequently,  I haven't been able to find much more information about Claudia Shuride, but I see no reason why these mugs won't eventually sell for a nice profit.

I can totally see where shopping with an iPhone could be a HUGE time suck. But I can also see where it can be really useful while you are still developing your mental database of what sells and what doesn't.  I can't wait to use the Map feature and Garage Sale apps on the go. Look for reviews on apps and ways to use your iPhone to increase your productivity to become a regular feature on Vintage Spinster. I'm linking up with Apron Thrift Girl for Thrift Share Monday.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Vintage Kitsch'n: Eggs Florentine

When we last checked in on the happenings in my Kitsch'n, I had prepped the greens for the Cooking Calendar's Eggs Florentine Recipe from July.

The next step is to "Arrange 4 hard cooked eggs, cut in halves, on top."  I pre-boiled the eggs, too. I ended up only using 3 and slicing them into quarters.

Next, "Cover with 1 cup of Medium White Sauce (p.157)" Turning to page 157, we are instructed to melt 2 tbsp of butter in a heavy saucepan. 

I picked up this heavy orange cast iron enameled saucepan at Goodwill for $1.50. Isn't it pretty?

After the butter has melted I blend in the flour, salt, and pepper-creating a roux.

Then I turned off the heat and stirred in the milk.  After the milk is added, I turned on the heat and brought the sauce up to a boil, stirring constantly.

It thickened up quite nicely. After the sauce is finished it's poured on top of the eggs and greens.

On top of the sauce, I sprinkled a crumb topping made of panko crumbs and a 3 cheese blend from Whole Foods.  

Then the whole thing goes into the oven for 20 minutes.

The finished dish:

I would love to say this was a really tasty dinner, but sadly it's very bland. It's not totally inedible. It just really needed to be a hollandaise or a cheese sauce, or have some more seasoning. I've been eating avocados with the leftovers, which has given it enough flavor to get by.

I'm not sure what next week will bring unless I find a fabulous Asian inspired cookbook between now and then. I have a lot of Bok Choy I need to deal with.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Thrift Share Monday: Time, Why You Punish Me?

Life is still chaotic, though it has gone down a notch or two on the crazy meter. I managed to at least get some boxes out of the middle of my kitchen and put them down in the basement last week. I have today off and will hopefully be able to get some stuff done around the house.  The living room has been my big project for the last month. I've been rearranging and trying to get the old Ikea (Don't judge me!) furniture replaced with new/old furniture though I haven't had much luck.

The living room currently is in utter chaos. I've got boxes and crates full of decor piled up on one side of the room and the furniture is not so much arranged as it is just "there." Before Festival began I manged to downsize my books and reduce my bookcase storage. (Those who know me will know that that was difficult for me.) But I do have one oasis of arranged decor which I will share today.

Every time I get frustrated that I haven't the time to continue the progress on the living room I look at my new bar. (The table is really a vanity that goes with my bedroom set. It was holding my TV for a very long time.) I've shown you the atomic lamp before and you've seen some of the barware, but I really want to share this clock radio.

$5 at the Clinton, CT Goodwill. It was hanging out by the electrical test strip, so I plugged it in and was delighted to see it lit up and appeared to be working. I tell you, there were some Hipsters that day giving me the stink-eye for getting to that clock before they did. When I brought it home I plugged it in to see if it would keep time, if the alarm would work, etc.

It does! My favorite part is the "second hand," which is actually the starburst next to the numbers. I've made a little video so you can see it in action. Watch the dot move around the swirling starburst. (You are getting verrrry sleeeepy....)


You can also hear on the video the only downfall of this fabulous clock. It's a bit noisy. But not all the time! Sometimes it's barely audible and sometimes it's like, "Damn! What is that?!" I figure if it really starts to annoy me, I'll take it apart and see if anything can be done. For now I just enjoy gazing at this little slice of heaven while watching Roseanne and eating Klondike bars. (It's all I have strength for after work most days.)

I'm linking up with Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday, as we do.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thrifts of Terror: The Contender

This could definately be a contender for the Kentucky State Fair's Ugly Lamp Contest
Seriously, with the right shade this has blue ribbon potential.

Seen at the Orange, CT Goodwill

Friday, June 17, 2011

Vintage Kitsch'n: Banana Bread

Last week I mentioned Kale, which is something I never thought I would enjoy until I started the CSA. I only recieved a small bunch this week, in addition to a plethora of lettuces. If I learned anything from last week, it's: Don't cook a whole bunch of food before the weekend, when all your meals will be provided. You will not eat the food you cooked and it will go bad. So I did a little prep work for Monday. I will get back to the greens in a bit.

At the Festival we are so busy, there is often barely or no time to eat, so we provide bagels, donuts, snacks, sandwich fixins, and meals on the weekends. A big part of my job is picking up/distributing the food. In the last couple years we have been buying fruit and vegetables wholesale from a local produce distributor. Last Friday we picked up a huge box of bananas for the weekend, so by the end of this week the leftovers were at the point where they were prime for banana bread. I headed home Thursday night to bake some bread and prep for next weeks meal.

First I knocked out a gluten free version, so I wouldn't cross contaminate with it's gluten full cousin. I picked up a gluten free baking mix from Stop and Shop and followed the directions for muffins and added a mashed banana.

Note my vintage hand mixer that matches my Spring Blossom ever so nicely:

Ready for the oven:

While the gluten free bread baked, I moved on to the greens. According to this NYT Diners Journal article by Edward Schneider, cooked greens will keep in the fridge for four or five days. So I'm prepping these to make Eggs Florentine on Monday.

After chopping the greens and destemming the kale, I simply blanched the greens in boiling water, rinsed them in cold water, and let them drip dry in the colander.

Then I packed them in my Spring Blossom 1.5 qt casserole dish, covered the greens with plastic wrap, put the lid on, and put the dish in the back of the fridge.

The banana bread recipe I am using is Mark Bittman's from How to Cook Everything, also printed here in the New York Times. When I have a cold, all I want to ingest is this Banana Bread and orange juice. I have been utilizing the HTCE App on my ipod Touch ever since I bought it back in September. If you have an iphone, itouch, or ipad-BUY THE APP! It's so useful. Here are the Banana Bread screen grabs of the recipe Overview and Step One:

Step one: check. I am doubling the recipe. Note that I do not own any vintage Pyrex loaf pans. I must work on that.

Step two: Wet items mixed, dry items mixed.

Since the bowls are pretty full, I offloaded into my trusty 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup to mix the wet and dry together. (Not vintage, but a kitchen staple.)


Step 3: Check.

And done. Two loaves of Bittman Banana Bread, one small loaf of gluten free banana bread, and one small loaf of pumpkin bread. (For my friend Kate, who is preggers and hates bananas.)


As you can see by the view outside, it's raining. Again. A perfect day for banana bread.

Next week I will continue the recipe for Eggs Florentine from the Betty Crocker Cooking Calendar. It includes "White Sauce." Could it get any kistchier?

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Belated Thrift Share Monday to You

My current day job managing the Production Office at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas has been keeping me hopping.  There has been no time for thrifting or organizing all the stuff I do have, or selling it for that matter. There has barely been enough time to come home, eat a Klondike Bar, watch an episode of Roseanne on Netflix, and go to bed. Thank goodness Van over at Thrift Core posted her Confessions of a Busy Thrifty Professional,  I don't feel so alone. In fact in the little time I've been able to check y'alls blogs (between bites of lunch, usually) It seems we are all a little crazed with work, kids, and summer activities.

So my Thrift Share this week is something I found a couple weeks ago and forgot about. My very own pair of L.L. Bean Maine Hunting Boots. I paid $9.99 at Savers. They are a Mens size 7 in great shape, used and broken in but not worn to death.

I thought I wouldn't have the opportunity to wear them until Fall, but I was wrong. It was very rainy and cold this past weekend, turning backstage of our outdoor concert stage into a mud pit.

Fortunately, Yo-Yo Ma, The Silk Road Ensemble, and 8000 people were not deterred by the weather and our opening night concert was an absolute blast. Yo-Yo and the SRE were some of the nicest, most enthusiastic performers I've ever worked with and their stellar performance made a very stressful week much better. Here's a shot of the crowd from backstage:

Here is a short video of the concert and crowd from the Yale Daily News:

If you look to the far right of the stage you can see my friend Ray holding down a tent that the wind really wanted to blow off the stage despite it being weighted down. 

I have plenty of items kicking around the house to share for the next few Thrift Share Mondays while the Festival is still part of my life. So fear not, TSM will happen if not always in a timely fashion. Also keep watching for The Thrifts of Terror and Vintage Kitsch'n posts. 

I'm linking up with Apron Thrift Girl, as we do.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thrifts of Terror: Snowbaby.

Seen at the New Haven Goodwill Outlet:

I call her, Snowbaby.
Because really, what other words are there?

Vintage Kitsch'n

It was about 5:00pm on Thursday night when I realized that it was Thursday making the next day Friday and that I needed to get this Vintage Kistch'n post together for today. Then I looked out the window and realized I wasn't going anywhere any time soon.

A huge line of thunderstorms was bearing down on the Connecticut shoreline turning day to night. It poured, there was thunder and lightning, and it got very windy. I had to stick around work for a couple more hours to prevent getting soaked, or getting struck by lightning.

I decided the best thing to produce from The Betty Crocker Cooking Calendar was an adaption of the advice on July 5th.  "Cook escarole in consomme and serve the soup with crispy French bread." 

I picked up a loaf of bread from the store made by local bakery Chabaso and grabbed an extra vegetable broth to go with the chicken broth I already had. I had some more escarole-like greens in the CSA box but they were extremely bitter, even for me. I chose to use the red deer tongue lettuce instead.

I heated the broth and added the chopped lettuce and then I thought, well this is boring. So I added some savory leaves and some garlic salt. The I threw caution to the wind and added some tortellini.

T-fal pot. I need to find more vintage cookware.

As for the crusty bread I decided to make some garlic toast a la my Great Aunt Eva. (She of the avocado and orange kitchen.) This involves slicing your French bread and basting it with melted butter. Then you sprinkle garlic salt on the buttered bread and toast in the oven at 350 degrees until browned. It gets very crusty, perfect for dipping.

Spring Blossom butter dish.
Note the Danish wood handled butter knife.

Dinner is served.  The soup is in one of my Nantucket stoneware bowls. I'm not sure if these are vintage or not but I keep finding them at the Goodwill and they are the perfect heavy duty bowls for soups or cereal.

Clockwise: LuRay bread plate, Pyrex bowl, Kings Crown
tumbler, Danish spoon left behind by a roommate years ago. 

How did it taste? Let's just say, I'm glad I added the pasta. However, it was a simple, easy meal on a rainy summer night.  Come back next Friday and see what I make with Kale!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thrifts of Terror: Pepe Le Pew

I was out of town over the weekend so now you get a special weekday Thrift of Terror.

Seen at the Milford CT Goodwill:

Who doesn't love a creature that admits it's own faults?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Thrift Share Monday

The Memorial Day sales last Monday did me well.  I caught this out of the corner of my eye amongst the dishes at Goodwill.
Wait a minute? Is that...Dusty Springfield?

Oh yes, yes it is. (Did you hear that? It's the sounds of the Vinyl Whores squeeing.) There was a Chaka Kahn plate too, but I'm not as big of a fan.  I can't tell you how many times I've listened to "Dusty in Memphis."
Dusty Springfield Pottery Plate: $.50.

I've been looking for one of these for my Mother. I have seen a few of them recently. But not in great condition, and not for less than $1
Kings Crown Platter: $.50

2 drink carriers and a Pyrex Cradle: $.40 each

Candle holder, probably Kosta Boda, it's heavy enough: $.50

And what would a thrifting sale be without a Vera? This time a cotton bandanna, a definite keeper. The yellow and brown scarf is not a Vera, but it's silk and pretty cool nonetheless.

Scarves: $1 each

I'm linking up with Apron Thrift Girl for (a belated for me) Thrift Share Monday.