Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fortune Cakes (Halloween #6)

Fortune Telling has always been a big activity around Halloween.  Fortune Cake was usually a standard cake with charms baked in.  This is a play on that by using cupcakes.

There are three parts to this project: 1) The Cupcakes, 2) Getting the Charms, and 3) Creating a Charm Guide

The Cupcakes
Since we need cupcakes, I decided to make a pumpkin spice cupcake with cream cheese frosting, topped with brown sugar.

1 box Yellow Cake Mix (+ required ingredients on box)
1 can Pumpkin Puree
1 TBSP Cinnamon
1 tsp Ginger
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 jar Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Prepare your cupcake cups by placing them in your pan.  Also, turn on your oven to 350F.
  2. In a bowl (or your mixer), place in the yellow cake mix and the ingredients required for it.
  3. Add in the pumpkin, cinnamon, and ginger.  Mix for at least 5 minutes.  The smoother your cake mix, the better the batter, the best batter makes the best cakes.
  4. Fill each cupcake cup 2/3 of the way full.  Your cake mix is going to rise and fill it up, don't worry.
  5. Sprinkle brown sugar on each cupcake, but make sure you leave a little extra for later.
  6. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until they are done.  You can test by inserting a toothpick into a cake.  When it comes out clean, the cake is done.
  7. Turn out the cupcakes and let them cool.  If you need to hurry the cooling process, place the cupcakes on a tray and place them in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  8. To decorate, cover the cupcake tops with cream cheese frosting and then sprinkle brown sugar over them.  After this, you will push your charms into the frosting, making sure that the shape cannot be detected by sight.

Getting the Charms
You can find the charms at a local craft store.  I found mine at Michaels, but I know that they can also be found at Jo-Ann Fabric.  They were around a dollar a piece, so not too expensive.  When you purchase the charms, also look for a thin ribbon to put through them.  The ribbon allows your guests to easily pull out the charm.

When I did this, I simply cut about a 10" piece of ribbon, strung it through the charm, and knotted the end.  Super easy.  I also washed the charms.

Creating a Charm Guide
The fortune cakes are not finished until you make a charm guide for your guests.  You can make it fancy or simple.  It's up to you.  Be creative with it.  It should be a card size guide with a fortune listed for each charm.  Make sure you have some good fortunes and some bad.  Ultimately it's up to you.

To help you out, I have listed some popular charm fortunes.

Airplane - Travel is in your foreseeable future.
Key - You will unlock a personal mystery.
Puzzle Piece - A new person or item will allow you to see the big picture.
4-Leaf Clover - You will have good luck.
Star - A little fame is in your future.
Skull - Someone will die.
Vehicle - Someone will leave.
Cat - Despite bad luck, you will land on your feet.
Horse - You will want to take that long gamble.
Microphone/megaphone - Be careful of what you hear.
Coin - You will come into some money.
Ring - Someone will be married.
Safety Pin - A baby is on the way.
Thimble or Button - You will remain a bachelor/bachelorette.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Black & Orange Appetizers (Halloween #5)

During a Halloween party it's always good to have appetizers.  If you have a tray with multiple compartments, you're in luck!  You can also use a regular tray, but compartments make it easy.

Fill your tray or compartments with black and orange appetizers.  Here are some suggestions.

Prunes and Apricots.  Sweet, delicious, and healthy.
=== Orange ===
  • Dried Apricots
  • Dried Mango
  • Dried Papaya
  • Candied Orange Peel
  • Orange Gumdrops
  • Carrots
  • Orange Slices
  • Cantelope
  • Orange Bell Pepper
  • Orange Jellybeans

=== Black ===
  • Raisins
  • Prunes
  • Chocolate-covered Nuts
  • Black Gumdrops
  • Licorice Pieces
  • Blackberries
  • Olives
  • Mini Oreos
  • Black Jellybeans
  • Dark Chocolate

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pumpkin Soup (Halloween #4)

Pumpkin Soup

1 can Pumpkin
1/2 can Coconut Milk
1 cup Water
2 tsp Beef Bouillon
1 Shallot
Thumb-size chunk Ginger
1 tsp Cinnamon

1. In a crockpot, mix the pumpkin, coconut milk, water, and bouillon.  Make sure the crockpot is on high.
2. Dice up the shallot and add to the pot.
3. Peel and dice up the ginger.  Add this to the pot along with the cinnamon.
4. Let it crock for at least 2 hours before serving.

This is a mellow soup with bites of spice from the ginger pieces.  This would be great for soup shooters.  You could easily offset the mellow body with a slice of smokey crisp bacon.  If you are more of a cheese and meat person, I would suggest a toothpick with a cube of smoked gouda and spicy salami.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

30-Day Ration Challenge - Official start video

This is my first official video for my personal start of the 30-Day Ration Challenge.  I'm starting tomorrow morning, September 23, and I plan on ending the morning of October 23.  October 23 also doubles as the day of my Halloween Cocktail Party.  I'll fill you in on that later.

Be sure to leave me a comment.  If you plan on doing this challenge, let me know.  I'm interested in knowing what you think.

I did more research and found out that a lot of people would get lunch from a luncheonette or diner or nearby restaurant.  I might just allow myself to grab a small salad or something for lunch every so often.  You might find some inspiration for eating out by reading about The American Luncheonette at Ultra Swank.

Monday, September 21, 2015

30-Day Ration Challenge

30-Day Rationing Food Challenge

I have been reading about food rationing during WWII.

Growing up, I was affected by this, despite having been born in 1982.  My mom's brothers and sisters, there are 8 of them total, were born during the 1950s and early 1960s.  Since my grandparents went through WWII, they were affected by the effect of rationing.  My grandma was a food stretcher and a food hoarder.  Instead of medicine, a lot of times they were given a lemondhead candy.  Several of them didn't realize it was candy until they were young adults.  They didn't grow up with pizza, burgers, pasta sauce, etc.  Example: spaghetti was spaghetti noodles with ketchup.

Luckily, while my parents dated for 8 years before getting married, my dad introduced my mom to flavor (though her palate is still very bland) and my mom introduced him to actual vegetables (he just ate peas and corn).  My grandmother did manage to garden a little bit, but with 8 kids I guess that's kind of hard.

I grew up being a foodie.  I could teach a seminar on coffee and espresso.  I love French food.  I love other kinds of food.  I'm currently on a New Mexican cuisine kick.  I love trying new things and researching historic foods.  At some point I want to try some of those fried scorpions that you see in tv shows when the host in in Thailand.

With that said, I'm am indeed planning on looking into WWII rationing.  Here is what I've found in order to understand how WWII rationing worked.

Each person was allotted 50 food points a month.  I have put together a food list with size and points for each food.  Baked goods and fresh produce were generally never on the list, but could also be scarce items.

Some items were allotted by the month.  You were only allowed 2lbs sugar a month and 1lb of coffee every 5 weeks.  Not everything was rationed though, so spices, flour, fish, etc are not on the list.

*All items found via primary sources, US rationing

Canned Items
Peas  -  1lb 4oz  -  16pts
Corn  -  1lb 4oz  -  14pts
Tomato  -  1lb 3oz  -  16pts
Asparagus  -  1lb 3oz  -  11pts
Green Beans  -  1lb 3oz  -  14pts
Spinach  -  1lb 2oz  -  11pts
Peaches  -  1lb 14oz  -  21pts
Pears  -  1lb 14oz  -  21pts
Sliced Pineapple  -  1lb 14oz  -  24pts
Grapefruit  -  1lb 4oz  -  10pts
Fruit Cocktail  -  1lb 1oz  -  11pts
Cranberry Sauce  -  10oz  -  8pts
Stewed Prunes/Plums  -  10oz  - 8pts
Applesauce  -  14oz  -  12pts
Canned Apples  -  14oz - 12pts
Sour Cherries  -  14oz  -  20pts
Black Eyed Peas  -  14oz  -  6pt
Pumpkin/Squash  -  14oz  -  8pts
Lima Beans  -  14oz  -  14pts
Leafy Greens  -  14oz  -  5pts
Kidney Beans  -  14oz  -  11pts
Mixed Vegetable  -  14oz  -  8pts
Mushrooms  -  14oz  -  14pts
Sauerkraut  -  14oz  -  3pts
Tomato Paste  -  14oz  -  18pts
Tomato Puree  -  14oz  -  4pts
Ketchup or Chili Sauce -  14oz  -  18pts
Tomato Sauce  -  14oz  -  6pts

Beef Loin Chops  -  1lb  -  8pts
Beef Shoulder -  1lb  -  5pts
Beef Sirloin  -  1lb  -  7pts
Beef Rump Roast w/bone  -  1lb  -  4pts
Ground & Patties  -  1lb  -  5pts
Lamb Chops  -  1lb  -  8pts
Lamb Chuck Roast  -  1lb  -  5pts
Ground Lamb Patties  -  1lb  -  4pts
Pork Chops, end  -  1lb  -  6pts
Pork Loin  -  1lb  -  7pts
Pork Shoulder Roast, butt w bone  -  1lb  -  7pts
Bacon, Canadian  -  1lb  -  11pts
Ham  -  1lb  -  12pts
Corned Beef Brisket  -  1lb  -  12pts

Juices & Soups
Soup, concentrate  -  10.5oz  -  4pts
Soup, ready to serve  -  10.5oz  -  2pts
Tomato Soup  -  10.5oz  -  3pts
Grapefruit Juice  -  2lb 14oz  -  3pts
Pineapple Juice  -  2lb 14oz  -  28pts
Tomato Juice  -  2lb 14oz  -  6pts
Tomato Juice  -  1lb 7oz  -  5pts
Grape Juice  -  2lb  -  6pts
Citrus Juices -  1qt  -  3pts

Shortening  -  1lb  -  5pts
Salad or Cooking Oil  -  1lb  -  5pts
Margarine  -  1lb  -  6pts
Processed Butter  -  1lb  -  6pts *not from farm or creamery
Cream Cheese  -  1lb  -  5pts
Cottage Cheese  -  1lb  -  5pts
Jam  -  1lb  -  6pts
Jelly  -  1lb  -  4pts
Fruit Butter  -  1lb  -  4pts
Marmalade  -  1lb  -  6pts
Frozen Fruit or Berries  -  1lb  -  12pts
Frozen Juice  -  12oz  -  2pts
Frozen Beans and Leafy Green  -  1lb  -  6pts *except spinach
Frozen Beans, Corn, Peas, Spinach, other Veggies  -  1lb  -  12pts

The 30-Day Rationing Food Challenge.  It might seem easy and somewhat convenient to plan what you could have for the whole month.  Is it?  I'm going to do this from Sept. 23 to Oct. 23 (when I have my Halloween cocktail party).

Here are my rules:

  1. I have food already, but I'm going to limit myself to 6 cans/boxes of food and whatever is in my fridge.  I am going to ignore what is in my freezer except for 1 fish fillet and 1 bag of frozen broccoli.  The key here is to use what you have, but really keep it overly limited.  People didn't start the war with absolutely empty cabinets, so I'm not worried about having some food around.
  2. I can only get food that is either not on the list or with my 50 points (for food on the list).
  3. Update once a week through my blog on my progress.
  4. Try to stick with foods that were available in the 1940s.  You can't just go buy protein bars or something.  That would be cheating.

If you would like to try this challenge for yourself, let me know how it goes!    Also, tag it with #1940sRationChallenge  I will have to make a video or something for this.

Here is a useful rationing guide that you can print out.  Click to enlarge it.

I'm updating this post.  I found, through pinterest, The 1940's Experiment.  A lady lost 100 pounds by using a wartime rationing food regime!  Amazing!  She does have recipes, so be sure to check it out.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Fishing Lure Giveaway!!!

I have a giveaway going for 2 Fishing Lures - painted by me.  They are hand-painted, retro-inspired.  These are size 3 lures and can be used for freshwater and saltwater fishing!  I have these listed on ETSY and I occasionally do local bazaars where I sell them.  (Note: I am still selling the bunch I made when I was living in Oregon, so it still says Oregon - but I am now in Alaska.)

With Christmas coming soon, these could make snazzy stocking stuffers!  I would love to see pictures of people using my lures. (hint hint!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bachelorette's Bar: Fall Party Drinks (Video!)

My first video!  I'm so excited!  I hope you guys have fun with this.  I have some Fall Cocktails for you to try out!  Let me know which one you like the most in the comments!

Fallen Apple

8oz Sparkling Apple Cider
1-1/2 oz Honey Whiskey
Garnish: Cinnamon Stick, Whole Star Anise, or 3 Whole Cloves
  1. In a collins glass, place your whiskey.To prevent this drink from overflowing (as carbonated drinks have potential of doing), I suggest the collins glass, but a pilsner glass could also be used.
  2. Slowly add in your sparkling apple cider.  

Pumpkin Old Fashioned

1-1/2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
2 TBSP Pumpkin Puree
1 oz Maple Syrup
2-3 dashes Bitters
Garnish: Orange Peel Twist or Rosemary Sprig
  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine bourbon, grand marnier, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and bitters with ice.
  2. Shake well and strain into an old fashioned glass.

Stone Wall

One 1-inch piece of fresh Ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1-1/2 tsp Simple Syrup
1-1/2 oz Rum
1-1/2 oz Apple Cider
1-1/2 oz Ginger Beer, chilled
Garnish: 1 lime wedge and 1 slice of apple
  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the ginger with the simple syrup. 
  2. Add the rum and cider; fill the shaker with ice and shake well. 
  3. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and top with the ginger beer.
The glasses I have in the video are from Pier 1 Imports.

Who Am I? (Halloween #3)

This is a game called "Who Am I?".  It also goes by a lot of other names.  The idea is to have a famous person's name written down and pinned somewhere that you cannot see.  A version of this game was seen in the film Inglorious Bastards.

This is a fun game to start with on Halloween.  Create some spooky tags and have safety pins ready.  Before your guests arrive, write down popular horror movie and Halloween characters on the tags.  When people start to show up, pin them.  You can have your first guest come up with a character tag for you so you can play too.

Here are some suggestions:
  • Dracula
  • Wolf Man
  • Invisible Man
  • Mummy
  • Blacula
  • Frankenstein's Monster
  • Lily Munster
  • Herman Munster
  • Morticia Addams
  • Gomez Addams
  • Freddy Krueger
  • Jason
  • Slimer
  • Jack Skellington
  • Barbara ('Night of The Living Dead')
  • King Kong
  • Godzilla
The guests have to ask other guests questions in order to figure out who they are.  This is a great ice breaker game and it can also provide entertainment if you need a little extra time in the kitchen.

Quick Side Note: I'm planning my first video for the blog.  I'll shoot it tonight and hopefully will have it up tomorrow!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Radio Interview

You can catch the radio interview from last night at the Spaced Out Radio online archives.  It was primarily on the UFO sightings from November 1986 by JAL 1628 (Japanese cargo plane).  I don't always blog about paranormal stuff, but since I am the Assistant State Director of Alaska for MUFON - I figured I would mention this since the paranormal is a big part of my life.  This was  very fun.  I have to admit that I do get worked up - overly excited - when I talk about the paranormal.  Just hope I don't come off as crazy or nervous.  LOL  I hope you listen to the show and enjoy things.

In October, you should be able to catch me on Cocktail Nation, hosted by Koop Kooper.  We're going to do a paranormal segment on the show with the focus being on mid-century-related events, as well as any niche knowledge that a lounge lothario may be inclined to know.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Spaced Out Radio

RIGHT NOW - I'm the guest of Spaced Out Radio.  Click here to check it out.

Pot O' Poison (Halloween #2)

This is a healthy and delicious Halloween recipe.  I've made this a few times and I thought it would be perfect for Halloween.  I found this recipe from Cinnamon Eats.

1 avocado is enough for 1 or 2 people, adjust accordingly.

  • 1 large ripe Hass avocado (approx 180g/6.5oz of avocado flesh)
  • Juice from 1+1/2 limes, plus zest from ½ lime for decoration
  • 50g/2oz raw honey or agave
  • 50g/2oz extra virgin coconut oil
  • ½ tsp matcha powder
  • ½ Tbsp pistachio nuts, ground to dust
  1. Place avocado flesh, lime juice, honey, coconut oil and matcha powder in a blender or in a tall jug with an immersion blender.
  2. Blend ingredients together until fully combined.
  3. Transfer to 2 small ramekins, smoothing over the top as much as possible with the back of a spoon.
  4. Cover and place in the fridge for an hour to set.
  5. When ready to eat, sprinkle on the pistachio nuts.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Healthy Vintage-Themed Lifestyle

The purpose of this lifestyle plan is to look at what people in the 1940s and 1950s ate and how they moved around.  It is not precise, but it might help some folks out who want to eat better and try something new.  People moved around more than we do presently.  It wasn't uncommon for a husband to take the car, leaving the wife to walk to get errands done.  If you were a blue collar laborer, then you probably sported some sort of musculature (regardless of sex).

Meals were kept to a balanced meal, but the portions were smaller than today's portions.  It is very possible that this was due to people having more food options without all the filler, overly processed foods, and pre-made who-knows-what.

I want to make sure that I say a "fad diet" is something you start and stop, often failing.  A diet in itself is simply what you eat, your eating habits.  If you don't believe me, let's look at a tiger.  What kind of diet does a tiger have?  Meat and plants, mostly.  Look at yourself.  What kind of diet do you currently have?

The other part of this is exercise.  You can't just change your eating or change your workout methods.  You have to alter both in order to get results.  Exercise is important.  Again.  Exercise is important.  It shouldn't matter if you're thin, fat, scrawny, or muscular.  Everyone needs to do it.  It will benefit you as soon as you start and it will help you later in life.  I have never wanted to be an old frail lady who has stability problems, maybe cardio issues, etc.  I'd rather be a kickass old lady who is very active and not afraid to lift that 40lb bag of dog food or go for a jog.  Becoming frail can be avoided by having a healthy lifestyle.  Just look at Jack Lalanne.

Consider the following a vintage method for a healthy life.

Your weekly walking or jogging goal is 15-20 miles.  If you go to the gym 5 days a week, run/jog/walk 3-4 miles; while 4 days a week would be 4-5 miles and 3 days would be 5-6 miles.

The following workout is based on the assumption that you go to a gym – regardless to how fancy or cheap it may be.  The key to weights is working with a weight that makes you work.  If you want to tone up, increase your weight by 5 lbs each time you workout.  The recommended weights are simply for starting out.  You can alter the weights used, of course.  If you need to use less weight, aggressively attempt to achieve a higher weight used the next time you work out.

Try to workout 4-5 days a week.  This will help you remain active and fit.  I personally try to workout 5 days a week in the wee hours of the morning (I'm up at 4:30am and out the door by 5am).  If I miss a day it is okay.  I don't make up for missed days.  I just get out there and do my best.

Jack Lalanne, the workout king, encouraged people during the 50s (when his television show began) and beyond to lift weights.  It leads to a stronger body.  You will find that you will look more toned, more healthy, and you will have more body stability.

Some exercise basics that you may not realize:
  • Squating is the act of sitting and standing up
  • Overhead press is the act of retrieving and putting something away that is overhead
  • Sit ups are the act of sitting up in bed
  • Push ups are the initial act of lifting yourself off the floor
  • Jump roping is the act of jumping
  • Good mornings are the act of bending over and returning to a standing position
  • Back squats are one of the strongest squats and can be used to lift a heavy item
  • Pull ups help you pull yourself over things like fences
  • Russian twists help with core stability so you have more control and balance
  • Deadlift is the act of picking an item up from the floor
The links will show you how each exercise is performed.  The following workout is designed to give you an overall body workout.

1 (gym)

Running/Jogging/Walking (15-20 miles a week)
3 Rounds
            Dumb bell squat x 15 reps (recommended: Two 20 lb dumb bells)
            Dumb bell overhead press x 10 reps (recommended: Two 20 lb dumb bells)
            Sit ups x 25 reps (recommended: No weight)
            Push ups x 15 reps (recommended: No weight)
            Jump Roping x 30 reps (recommended: No weight)
2 Rounds
            Barbell Good Mornings x 15 reps (recommended: 50 lb barbell)
            Barbell Back Squats x 10 reps (recommended: 50 lb barbell)
            Pull ups/Assisted Pull Ups x 15 reps (recommended: No weight)
            Russian twist with kettle bell x 25 reps (recommended: 25 lb kettle bell)
            Deadlifts x 10 reps (recommended 50 lb barbell)

If you are not a member of a gym, I have some suggestions for you.  See below.

2 (no gym)

Running/Jogging/Walking (15-20 miles a week)
Workout video:

The Bettie Page workout is fairly new.  It was put together by Tori Rodriguez and is based on Bettie's pictures and movies.  For both videos, you might need some weight equipment, but you should be able to find this inexpensively at a sporting goods store.

You could use this Camp Plate
Your plate should consist of 50% Protein, 25% Veggies, 25% Carbs. 
Complex carbohydrates contain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.  Simple carbohydrates are pretty much just filler foods like white flour, cane sugar, jam, etc.  Complex carbohydrates includes foods such as: oats, brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, beans, peas and lentils.  What many folks tend to not incorporate into the carbohydrate formula are fruits and veggies.  Fruits and Veggies tend to be a quasi-carb meaning that they are usually listed as a simple carbohydrate, but like complex carbs they have vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.  You could, for instance, have a double helping of vegetables or two separate vegetables if you aren’t into the grains, potato, and legumes.

Think of breakfast, lunch, and dinner simply as “meals”.  Breakfast vegetables might make you question things.  Dessert is your light splurge for the day.  Imagine that, a possible daily dietary splurge.  Dessert is dessert and often contains sugar.  Keep it limited to one serving, no more.  You may want to try thinking of fruit as dessert.  Try a baked apple or fruit pie.

At least 2 liters of water is recommended a day, but 3 liters is ideal.  Stay away from soda or any drinks that are full of sugar.  Carbonated water, tea, coffee, ovaltine, etc are just fine.  If you are a juice drinker, limit your juice to breakfast.  When it comes to alcohol, try to limit it to 3-5 drinks a week.

The basis of eating right has always been "food awareness".  Read about foods, eat those superfoods, and stay away from the processed crud.  Some folks think that eating right means cutting calories, but calories are energy.  What kind of energy are you fueling your body with?  Eating the right foods can naturally, and in a healthy way, cut calories since veggies and fruit are typically low in calories.  Best example: 1 cup Broccoli = 31 calories  versus  1 cup Mac & Cheese = 410 calories.  Which fuel is better for you?  I really hope you know that it's broccoli.  By using "food awareness", you can afford the occasional drink or dessert without all the horrible guilt.

If you are going to try this diet out, here are the DO's and DON'Ts.

  • Purchase fruits and vegetables, frozen and canned are okay but fresh is best
  • Eating dairy is up to you, but don't slather everything with cheese
  • Make time to eat each meal
  • You can do this and still remain paleo - for any paleo people out there
  • Try leftovers and fish for breakfast
  • Allow yourself to have a dessert every so often
  • You can break these rules whenever you want, but try not to break them often
  • Use a smaller plate like an 8" salad plate instead of a dinner plate
  • Try yam instead of potato or sweet potato
  • Try a weird gelatin salad for lunch or some other fun 1940s & 1950s recipes
  • You can drink...a little.
  • Limit your pasta to maybe one meal a week, regardless of noodle type
  • NO pre-made food
  • NO quick-to-make food from a box
  • Limit your sugar use.  Alternative sweeteners may be ideal like honey or agave nectar
  • No fast food.  If you are going out to eat, have it be a sit-down restaurant for better quality.
  • Stay away from white flour, other refined grains, cane sugar, soy, corn, corn syrup, and other edibles with low nutrient density.  Side note: I include soy due to the chemical compounds and side effects of soy.
  • Don't eat dessert each night if you don't want to.  It's just an option, not a requirement.

Here is a week of suggestions.

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, steamed asparagus, and banana.
Lunch: Smoked sausage, cauliflower, and brown rice or apple.
Dinner: Fish fillet and large salad.
Dessert: Slice of chocolate cake.

Breakfast: Two fried eggs on whole grain toast and leftover cauliflower (Monday lunch)
Lunch: Whole grain bread sandwich with lunchmeat and thin sliced roasted zucchini, 100-calorie pack of nuts, and snack-size box raisins.
Dinner: Lemon pepper chicken breast with broccoli and rice or pan-fried cinnamon apples.
Dessert: 1 scoop ice cream

Breakfast: Protein smoothie (1 scoop protein powder, banana, other fruit)
Lunch: Leftovers from Tuesday dinner – chicken and broccoli, piece of fruit
Dinner: Meatloaf, green beans, and mashed potato/mashed cauliflower
Dessert: Slice of pie

Breakfast: Ham steak (small), pan-fried cinnamon apples, whole grain toast
Lunch: Lentil & Ham soup, 6 whole grain crackers (like triscuits)
Dinner: 6oz Steak, baked potato, small salad
Dessert: Yogurt and fruit

Breakfast: Meatloaf (leftover from Wednesday dinner), whole grain toast, small orange or satsuma
Lunch: Chinese food (meat, veggies, and rice)
Dinner: Veggie-Noodle Lasagne (use zucchini and yellow squash cut length-wise for vegetable noodles, make the rest normally with meat)
Dessert: Slice of Cheesecake

Breakfast: Parmesan-crusted tilapia with broccoli
Lunch: Chili con carne, veggie boat (variety of veggies with ranch dip)
Dinner: Scallops over quinoa with asparagus
Dessert: A bar of chocolate

Breakfast: Oatmeal with fruit
Lunch: Grilled chicken, waldorf salad
Dinner: Schnitzel, sauerkraut, walnut-honey yams
Dessert: 3 pieces Almond Roca

If you need a retro cookbook (or vintage if you can find an original) I suggest the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.  If you have never cooked before, you can learn from this book.  If you are an experienced cook, you will find some interesting vintage recipes here.  It's not very expensive.

I'd like to hear what you think of all this.  Do you agree?  Like it?  Hate it?  What would you change?  I'm very interested in your opinions!

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Hourglass War

To many people in today's world, the "hourglass figure" is almost mythical.  Since the 1960s with waif-like girls such as Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy have started to become the fashion norm.  Since those times, there has been a bit of a war on the hourglass figure from waif-like women and fat women.  It's now moved to use the term "curvy" to be equivalent to "fat".  Are fat girls curvy?  convex maybe, but I don't believe they are curvy in the sense that they want to be.

The basic definition of a hourglass figure is: "A body shape where the bust and hips are the same or are almost the same size with a well-defined waist approximately 10-inches smaller than the bust/hips."

In the vintage world, the hourglass figure is revered as ideal.  Women try to achieve it by using the proper undergarments such as a bullet bra, shapewear, and corsets/waist cinchers.  As a bonus, this also helps to prevent chub rub, a loose belly, and other little issues like that.

Other body shapes are not awful, I'm just not focusing on them with this article.

Did you know that women used to compete for the best hourglass figure?  That was a thing.  I'm sure now that it would have such a harsh backlash that it would be scratched before it even started.  In all honesty though, the hourglass figure only represents around 8% of the current population, while in the 1950's it was higher at 14-16%.

In the 1960s, when the ideal body shape changed from the hourglass to the banana, women with busts and hips were seen as outdated or overweight.  This also happened in the 1920s, 1990s, and 2000s.
Below: 1920s, 1960s, and 2000s.  The rectangle/banana figure.

Can you be thin and still be curvy?  Why yes, you can be.  I'd like to point to modern actresses like Scarlett Johanssen and Selma Hayek.  These women are gorgeous, curvy, and stay very trim.  It's silly to think that you have to be overweight to be curvy.  Thinking like that sounds like an accident waiting to happen - like a heart attack.

The other figures that you probably know are the rectangle/banana (currently makes up about 51% of womanly figures), the spoon/pear (currently makes up about 23% of womanly figures), and the inverted triangle/apple (currently makes up about 18% of womanly figures).

When I was in middle school, my mom and one of my aunts started getting into the Dr.Abravanel's Body Types.  It's based on which gland functions more than the others to regulate body shape.  It works for men and women.  With this system it categorizes you by your glands: gonadal, thyroidal, adrenal, and pituitary.  It focuses on eating right based on glandular output.  It's interesting.

Do I think that diet can alter appearance?  I sure do.  I don't think it will get you big boobs or a uniquely small waist, but it will benefit you to the best of your natural abilities.  I should point out that in several Asian areas that have been modern for a while (as opposed to say - rural China), the use of soy is so prominent that it has physically altered the people.  Men and women tend to look more like each other for one simple reason.  Soy contains isoflavones which mimics estrogen and increases the amount of estrogen produced.

I want to bring up fat women again.

Let me say that I am 5'-3", my dress size is 12/14, pants size 8, and with my weight-lifting I'm in the 180 lbs range last I checked.  I tend to buy Sm/Med clothing, but I still feel like a bigger person.  I was comfortable when my pants size was down around size 4.  With that being said, I have felt pressure from people larger and smaller than me about body issues.  I've been criticized by a lot of people.  My little sister (she's 5'-9 3/4" tall and is very much a banana body) thinks my vintage/retro style is a little daunting.  She like MCM stylings, but prefers ultra low cut jeans, tall boots, tunics with leggings, scarves, and athletic wear as day wear.  Pretty typical modern woman.  Most people believe she's thinner than me because she's taller and wears more skin tight clothing (yoga pants, leggings, etc), regardless to the fact that I believe she wears pants size 8/10 (we're close).

I've had large women tell me that working out is ridiculous and that I obviously don't love myself and how I appear.  I have also had skinny girls tell me that I need to workout more, stop being so lazy, and eat better.  It doesn't help that in today's society it seems like everything is "skinny cut".

I want to take a moment to reflect on my personal size.  I love having big boobs.  Right now I'm wearing a 36DD bullet bra.  I love having big hips and a small, but high natural waist.  I feel hefty at a pant size 8.  I felt pretty comfortable with myself when I was down to a size 4.  I was super active, very much a big follower of the paleo diet (unlike last night when I scarfed down two cookies), and my attitude was a bit more positive regarding myself.  I will admit that I get disgusted by fat.  NOT FAT PEOPLE.  The person can be awesome.  I just get disgusted by their fat.  Two separate things.  I realize that it's strange and I don't think I've actually told anyone about it.  So, surprise internet, you're the first to know.

A good self exercise is to reflect on how you feel with your size and appearance.  Are you happy with how you appear?  Do you want to slim down or tone up or put on 10 lbs to look healthier?  Do a self-assessment.  Know what you want to have happen to your body.  Does weight matter to you or do you regulate yourself more by pant size?

Why has society deemed it okay to start calling fat people "curvy?"  I've had people jump on my case about my use of the word "convex", but it literally means "an outward curve" which can be a descriptor for fat people.

Do you think there is a war on the hourglass figure?  Tell me about your body issues.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bachelorette's Bar: The Basics

I don't drink a whole lot, but I do appreciate my Wine Wednesday nights (local group of wine-goers who meet up to enjoy wine) and I love a good drink.  My biggest pet peeve: having to explain to the bartender that when I use the term "soda" I mean "soda water" not sprite or coke or whatever.

If you are planning on having a little bachelorette bar, you will want to know the basics.


The basic barware consists of:
  • Shaker
  • Stirring Spoon
  • Jigger
  • Muddler
  • Strainer
  • Ice Bag (if you want to be fancy)


Glasses are important.  If you pour everything into a plastic cup, only because they're cheap, then you come off looking cheap.  The ideal thing to have is a handful of the glasses that usually use.  For instance, if you hate brandy, don't buy a brandy snifter.  If you really like whiskey sours, buy a sours glass.  Simple.

 The Staples

When you start to get alcohol for your bachelorette bar, consider the drinks you plan on making.  Do you want a wide selection or a simple selection based on what you drink?  Do you want to have supplies on hand to make a manly drink?

The usual bar staples are:
  • Vodka
  • Whiskey or Scotch
  • Rum (light or dark)
  • Tequila
  • Gin
  • Cognac
  • Citrus juice (lime or lemon)
  • Grenadine
  • Mixers (tonic water, soda water, vermouth, sours mix, bloody mary mix, daquiri mix, etc)

 What kind of bachelorette bar do you have?  What's your favorite drink?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bachelorette's Bar: Unicorn Tears

Unicorn Tears Gin Liqueur

Someone post this on facebook and I just had to check it out.  First off, my inner nerd squealed about all the fantasy drink possibilities (like 'Harry Potter' or 'Chronicles of Narnia' or something!)   After taking a good look, it turns out that this is legit.

It sells for a whopping $61.69

Here's what the website says:
"Mixing the distinctive flavours of gin with the sweetness of a liqueur, this magical brew is also sprinkled with shimmering - 100% edible - pieces of silver."

Tasting notes:
Nose: Fragrant juniper rises from the glass alongside CuraƧao orange and crisp lemon. Bruised mint leaves and fresh lemongrass brings herby freshness to the nose.

Palate: Big bundles of candied orange peels, flying saucer sweeties and a hint of maple syrup. Touches of pine-y juniper berries and cardamom introduce elements of spices.

Finish: Sweet, juicy orange freshness goes on and on throughout the finish.  

You can buy a bottle from Firebox

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Eye-Scream (Halloween #1)

This is the first of a series of Halloween posts.  I know that I am starting early, but sometimes you need that extra time to prepare for parties and whatnot. 

This particular recipe was inspired by the old Beetlejuice cartoon series.  This could be a fun dessert for kids or adults.  You can make this small (as I will show) or as one huge eyeball.

You will need:
- Any type of white ice cream (I used coconut bliss which is a brand of coconut ice cream)
- Chocolate chips (regular size for small or jumbo size for larger)
- 1 can Cherry Pie Filling
- Food coloring (blue, green, and/or brown)
- Toothpicks
- Spoon
- Mini Half-Dome pan (shown) or larger half-dome pan

Thaw your ice cream until it is somewhat soft.

Fill in as many half domes as you need, then put this back in the freezer.

Once your ice cream is solid again, you can pop them out of the pan.  Have your items ready!!!

With a spoon, remove a circular area from the top of each half dome.

Use the spoon to mix the removed ice cream with a touch of color (use the tooth picks).  Put this back into the scooped out hole and push an upside down chocolate chip in the center of it.  You might want to pop each eyeball back into the freezer as soon as it is done to prevent additional melting.

Once your eyeballs are all in the freezer, you have time to get out the bowl you are serving your dish in.  Open your can of cherries and fill the bottom of the bowl.

Once your eyeballs are solid, place them on top of the cherry filling.  Use some of the extra filling goo to drizzle on the eyeballs.
This is a goofy dish that is fun to make and fun to eat.  I will warn you that coconut bliss ice cream melts pretty fast.  If you have color that runs down the side of your eyeball, have no fear.  Gently scrape away the color that ran with a spoon as soon as you pull it out of the freezer.

For large eyes, you could also use slightly softened ice cream that is scooped out into a ball.  It really depends on how you want to present it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Take a Break & Watch TV

There are a lot of television shows out there catering to the vintage lovers.  I thought it would be a good thing to list a few of them.

I spent my Labor Day weekend sick and watching tv.  My allergies were nice enough to wait for me to get off work before attacking suddenly.  Anyway, if the same thing happens to you, maybe this is just the list you need.  TV to get through a sick weekend.

Bomb Girls (2012-2013)

This show is fantastic.  It takes place in Canada during WWII at a bomb factory.  I really like this show.  It has a diverse class of women - social classes, sexually, etc - who have to go through the war and deal with life in general.  I saw this show before 'Land Girls' and I think it's a little more Americanized.  It just seems a little flashier without being flashy (if that makes sense).

Land Girls (2009-2011)

Another show about women during WWII who are in the Women's Land Army.  It's pretty interesting to see the social differences between 'Land Girls' and 'Bomb Girls'.  I did grab a lot of sewing ideas from both shows.

Mad Men (2007-2015)

Unless you've been living in a cave, you have probably heard about 'Mad Men'.  It takes place at an ad agency from 1959 into the 1960s.  The people are fabulous, the fashions are fabulous, and you really get a sense of daily life in middle America.  The story follows Don Draper.  If you ever smoked or still smoke, you will probably find yourself almost smelling the cigarette smoke after a few episodes.

The Astronaut Wives Club (2015-ongoing)

This is a newer show that takes place during the space race.  I haven't seen too much of this one yet, but I plan on doing so.  While there are astronauts in the show, it is focused on the lives of the wives - an interesting angle.

Aquarius (2015-ongoing)

David Duchovny stars as a seasoned police detective in this show based in the 1960s Los Angeles.  Who is he after?  None other than Charles Manson.  He also has run-ins with some other famous people like the Black Panthers.  It's a pretty interesting crime-drama.  Unfortunately, I always think "Mulder" when I see Duchovny.   It's still good.

Magic City (2012-2013)

I just started watching this show.  It takes place during the 1950s in Miami.  It centers around a hotel owner and mobsters.  The fashions are beautiful and I like the ethnic diversity of Miami.  It stars Jeffery Dean Morgan who played the Winchester dad in 'Supernatural' and who played The Comedian in 'Watchmen'.  

Bates Motel (2013-ongoing)

If you are an Alfred Hitchcock fan, you will probably really dig this series.  It is, of course, all about the Bates Motel and starts out with a young Norman Bates and his mom.  It has a very vintage feel to it and to be honest I thought that it was set in the 60s for a while, but that gets spoiled with modern vehicles and cell phones.  I don't even mind the new tech.  It's a killer show. (yes, pun!)

Friday, September 4, 2015

The American Luncheonette

I wanted to let you know that I have a new article up at Ultra Swank.  It's all about luncheonettes.

Have you ever been to a luncheonette?  Do you have a favorite?  Is there a luncheonette from a film that you would want to go to?

The American Luncheonette

Please SHARE the article!