Jell-O Molds: The most (ridiculous and jiggly) fun you’ll have in the kitchen.

Strawberry-Banana Jell-O mold.

Your eyes do not deceive you.

And really, this recently-undertaken endeavour, however silly, should surprise no one (other than my well-known hatred of sugar and processed foods). I love vintage, from the way I dress & style my hair to the things I love photographing and the sort of house I prefer; what, really, could be more retro a dessert than a Jell-O mold? Served from sea to shining sea in homes and roadside diners for decades, Jell-O and gelatine molds are fun, tasty, and as pretty or, let’s be honest, garish as you want them to be.

How this got going in my own kitchen, I still can’t tell you. Now, I’ve long had a small collection of vintage Jell-O recipe booklets going back as far as 1928, filled with tasty-looking recipes (as well as several questionable ones); during a trip to the used bookstore a few months ago, Hubby pulled a copy of Jell-O: A Biography— complete with  recipes—off the shelf as a joke, only to watch me go, “Ooooo!” and add it to my stack of books. It definitely isn’t my usual fare—as is so often the case, he had to hunt me down in the history section—but everyone can use some fun, light-hearted reading, right?

Of course, I still hadn’t any molds to work with—until one night, a carryout order provided me with a rectangular plastic tub large enough to hold about five cups of liquid. Perfect! In short order, I found myself pouring into this mold orange Jell-O blended with cream cheese, then peaches topped with more orange Jell-O into this new, makeshift ‘mold’, then a few hours later gleefully surprising Hubby with a somewhat glaringly bright but cheerfully wiggling dessert. After he got over the laughing, he confessed to its being “cool” and, not long after, “really good”. I was off to the races! Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Lucy, our diva, was not available…then again, she did not gorge herself, either.)

Though this is late, with it I send all of my prayers and hopes that you and yours have a wonderful, calm Thanksgiving (and if you’re not in the States, I’m still wishing you a marvellous weekend and all of the joy being thankful gives us!).

Since my running-about-like-a-beheaded-chicken is over with, it seemed like a nice time to share some of the lovely vintage Thanksgiving postcards I’ve run across lately. They’re not only charming, but have such a wonderful personal warmth to them. (Unless you don’t like the idea of turkeys in peril.)

Vintage Thanksgiving Day Postcard

Courtesy Dave, CC BY-ND 2.0

Why did we ever stop sending Thanksgiving cards, anyhow?

Vintage Thanksgiving Postcard

Courtesy Dave, CC BY-ND 2.0

Continue reading

Honey, give me some sugar.

Why should the kids be the only ones enjoying treats this week? I found some sweets-inspired “treats” of all kinds on ArtFire and wanted to share them with you.

 

I’m glad they’re not all sugary. And yes, I had to include the Jell-o. Wouldn’t have been right to leave it out!

Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Recap: Success! Partially, anyhow.

Fairlanes and Farms. Photo copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

Best of Ohio: Farms and Fairlanes! Well, one Fairlane.

Well, last weekend was the much-anticipated Highway Buy-Way. We were supposed to have two full days of thrifting and sightseeing excitement, but an emergency came up at Hubby’s office, so our time was cut down to a solitary day. Of course, we made the best of it—though as always, I was so busy hunting and chatting up sellers that I didn’t really shoot a whole lot. I did manage to catch some interesting things, and have a few places I’d like to return to, though, so it’s not a complete loss. Still, that’s the reason for “partially”.

Besides: I scored some terrific goodies, and just as I did last year, today I’ll share them with you!

Our first stop, a barn sale, got the day off to a great start (actually, that it was pouring rain here at home but a perfect day up north on the Lincoln indicated

Oooooooooo. Vintage plant stand photo copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

I tried to get one of the pets to “model” this for everyone’s additional enjoyment, but no luck.

early success), because I found something I’ve been after for a while—a mid-century plant stand with a really neat shelving arrangement. It was tagged two bucks, but deciding to press my luck early, I offered one, and sold! 

The seller was a nice gentleman thinking about having a Lincoln Highway logo painted onto the side of his barn. That would have been an irresistible photo op. Next year, maybe. He seemed tickled to see me pick up the old plant stand, noting that a fresh coat of spray paint would have it looking good as new, and he’s right—though I have to be honest: that barn-y patina is actually kind of attractive, and it’s growing on me. I might just leave it be for a while.

Stand Detail

No wonder Mom thinks I’m crazy. Rusty stuff out of barns in the foyer…

Just up the road was a ranch boasting a garden full of nothing but 6-foot high gladiolas on its east side—and quite a few vintage goodies. Much as I lusted after a Jadeite stand mixer (with bowls!), I wasn’t really up to dropping quite that much—and I found some other lovelies as well! Such as this sleek bowl-and-teapot set:

Ooooo.

All of my more, ah, vertically-challenged and round teapots are bound to be jealous of this relatively statuesque beauty. They’ll get over it. Continue reading

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

An O’Hara by birth, I wanted to wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Though I still lack a shamrock-shaped mold, I couldn’t resist whipping something up with Jell-O:

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It (kind of) matches the colours of the flag of Éire: peach + peach liquer (which I ought to have made more orange with…something…), pina colada gelatine with rum, and melon with melon liquer. The creamy look was achieved by mixing sour cream into the cooled gelatine before pouring into the mold; it sounds crazy, but the added creamy fat cuts the sweetness of the gelatine. This works beautifully with whole-fat yogurt, too.

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This Jell-O mold does not necessarily match up well with the corned beef, carrots, and gluten-free ale-braised Brussels Sprouts we’re having for dinner, but the weather is so dreary, I think we can be forgiven a little brightness. Also, it was fun to make.

Enjoy your day, and if you are heading out, do be smart about it.

Just two, but two good ones!

The other day, we stopped at a local Goodwill. As always, I’m on the hunt for some good vintage duds—harder and harder to find, but they do pop up from time to time!—and fun things for the home (and, yes, Jell-o molds). No Jell-o molds today, but there were two goodies I was quite happy to bring home:

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The chalkware rooster is probably my favourite of the pair, just because he’s chalkware. Our city still ill-advisedly and ignorantly bans hens, but I don’t think they can do much about this handsome fellow!

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Of course, unless we had several acres, I don’t think I’d want a real rooster either—cruelty to one’s neighbors is unfailingly a bad idea—but this one is guaranteed to make no noise. As you can see, he even came with his (somewhat amusing) original packaging:

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The gift of the CENTURY!  Continue reading

Some Sweetness For Your Weekend

Earl Grey CupcakeI’m not sure why, but I’ve spent a great deal of time in the kitchen of late—more than usual, that is; I cook about 98% of our meals and simply enjoy the process (and, of course, the results). Obviously there’s the newfound tasty giggles to be found in Jell-O molds, but I’ve been baking a lot, too.

Perhaps it’s the winter—being safely but involuntarily cooped up inside from the cold but wanting of course to stay active; maybe it’s the still-recent-to-me loss of my grandfather, occasionally stinging more deeply when a box of things from his house arrives as Dad, my aunt, and my uncle continue cleaning out his and Grandma’s home and pass things on to family members. Grandma was an amazing baker and cook, as I’ve mentioned before; it seems that most of her kitchen things are being divvied up between my aunt and I, because we’re the ones who seem to simply love being in the kitchen the way Grandma did (we are also both passionate gardeners, like Grandpa…two apples who did not fall far from the tree, to be sure). Whipping things up in Grandma Sally’s and Great-Grandma’s bowls makes me feel so close to them both—Great Grandma was a whiz in the kitchen, too—it’s as if they’re in the kitchen with me. Grandpa used Grandma Sally’s bowls after she passed 20 years ago, so…it’s just warm. Does that makes sense?

It has been bittersweet, using these new additions to my kitchen, but less bitter and more sweet every time I use them. Sometimes I wonder what Grandma would say, seeing me go about dressed and coiffed so that people at the supermarket and in church stop me to tell me I look like I’ve “stepped out of an old movie”, baking and cooking and gardening and canning; I like to think she’d smile and love it. Grandpa certainly did, as do my mom’s parents, so I guess I have to go with their verdict and guess hers would be the same, don’t I?

Maybe all of this baking and kitchen bustle of late is my way of working through the loss. Earl Grey Cupcake with Lemon cream cheese frosting Considering my genetic predisposition to this sort of thing, it does make sense, doesn’t it? And I know Grandma and Great-Grandma would be proud as Grandpa took “just two”. 😉

At any rate…all this to say that the house smells like a bakery these days (not a bad thing!) and I’ve probably put out maybe four dozen cupcakes in the past two weeks. Yes, you read that right! First a batch of strawberry cupcakes with lemon frosting that left me with an overload of the latter.

Hating to waste all of that lemon frosting, I decided to make a tea-flavoured cupcake to use it up, because as we know, lemon and tea are quite good friends indeed. A quick internet search led me to these Earl Grey Cupcakes from Edible Moments (another blog that appears dead—I sure can pick ’em!) that seemed perfect.  Continue reading