Monday, December 30, 2013

Thrifting Finds #37: Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!

Greetings, all!  I hope your Christmas was every bit as great as mine!  Sorry about the lack of postage last week, but you know how things get during Christmas week.

I want to mention just one of the many lovely gifts i got from the Hubster:  a Goodwill gift card!  Did you know that some Goodwills do that?  I sure didn't!  It's not good at all the GWs we go to (they belong to different groups or something), but what a great idea.  I was pleased as punch, let me tell you.

But enough blather.  We're here to see the goodies I picked up.  This is actually more than a week's worth, since I didn't post last week, but I guess that doesn't really matter, does it?  On to the goodies!

1.  Andy!  I had been looking for this album on CD for a while now.  I know I could have gotten it from Amazon, but I wanted to find it at a bargain price.  Now, I made a deal with myself that I was not going to ever look at the records in the thrifts.  If I started that, I'd never get out of there.  But there was Andy, right in front, looking at me as I walked past.  It was a sign, a sign I tell ya!  The cover's a little worn but the LP is just fine.  Goodwill, $1.00

2.  Richard!  Okay, remember what I just said about not looking through the records?  Well, I'll admit that I did flip quickly through the bin where Andy was.  And just look what I found!  This is Doctor Kildare, folks.  Singing Hi Lilli, Hi Lo.  You can't make that stuff up.  Did I need this?  No.  Could I pass it up?  No way!  Goodwill, $1.00

3.  Ceramic Christmas Tree!  I passed up on four of these last year.  Stupid.  So this year, I vowed to get one.  What did I do?  I passed up on the first one I saw, then didn't see any more at all before Christmas!  What a yutz.  After Christmas, I found myself at an antique mall I hardly ever go to and said I'd get one if I found one.  There were probably about 6 of them in the mall, this being the only all white one,  At prices from the mid $20s all the way up to 80 bucks!  I saw this one (20% off sale) and said I'd come back for it after going all through the mall.  And so I did.  With the discount, it was like 22 bucks, which I didn't think was bad.  It sure is colorful, and there are a lot of lights on it,  Like 150.  The only problem is...

Click to embiggen

the lights are actually these stupid little birds!  Now I have to find some replacement bulbs.  Oh, Amazon has them, but the shipping is outrageous.  There's a ceramic studio near me, but they want $.15 each, which would come to like 22 bucks.  That's not happening.  Well, I certainly have lots of time, so I'm not worried.

4.  Sink trays!  A purely practical purchase, but I'm happy nevertheless.  I already have these in the kitchen and Hubby's bathroom, but I also wanted them for mine.  They're pretty expensive at the home stores, so I was quite pleased when I spotted these.  Never installed, still mint in the package.  And a price I like!  They're already installed, too, using the new cordless drill that Hubby gave me for Christmas.  Savers, $2.99

5.  More blue glass!  I picked this up the same morning as the ceramic Christmas tree.  I originally wasn't going to get it, since $5.00 is more than I'm generally willing to pay.  Then I thought I'd get it for the Hubster, so that made the price okay!  Plus, I used the gift card he got me!  I kinda wanted to keep it for myself, but I know he likes this color, too.  Luckily, he said he wanted it, but that we should keep it at home!  So now it's our new candy jar, replacing the one I got at the Dollar Store.  Goodwill, $5.00

Other stuff:

A.  Holy cwap, that's a bigass piece of pork!  You're looking at almost 12 pounds of pork loin, folks.  For which I paid just over 20 bucks.  Our Weis occasionally has a good sale on these (I swear I once got one almost this size for like, 9 bucks), and I couldn't pass this up.  We now have two nice roasts, a slew of chops, and some cubes for posole or barbecue taking their rightful place in our freezer.

And that's it for this week.  I'm writing this post on my laptop at home, which I find impossible to type on.  Consequently, all sorts of odd things have been happening, as I think I keep hitting the touchpad by accident.  If this manages to post at all, I'll be surprised!

Best wishes for a healthy, happy New Year (that's full of really cool thrifted finds)!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Thrifting Finds #36: Good Reads!

How's everyone getting along with their Christmas shopping and other preparations?  While I'm not done (I tend to go right up to Christmas Eve), I'm far enough along that I'm no longer in a panic.  That's a good feeling.

Thrifting was again kind of thin, but I was not totally without any treasures.  Even Hubs managed to make a purchase this week--something that hasn't happened in quite some time.  So we're happy.

Boy howdy, though, I am sick of looking at ugly Christmas stuff.  My eyes were literally hurting from some of the stuff I saw--and there was lots of it this week.  Let me put it this way:  the top 10% of the stuff--the highest-quality, the absolute peak--originally came from Wal Mart.  That'll give you a clue as to what I was looking at.  There was nothing vintage, nothing charming, nothing I would allow in my house.  I might have to start shopping out of state for Christmas stuff.

But enough bellyaching!  On to the week's treasures!

1.  Questionable glass!  I picked this up on the off chance that it's a Swanky Swig.  Does anybody know?  It's 5.25" high and 3.5" across, if I remember correctly (and that's kind of a slim chance...)  The glass itself seems a little thin to have once been basically a jar, but what do I know?  The Goodwill had an even dozen of these, but I only bought this one.  Goodwill, $0.48

2.  Cooky book!  Good heavens, what the hell am I doing buying a cookie cookbook?  Well, I'll likely never make any of the recipes, but these old Betty Crocker cookbooks are fun to read.  Plus, I like the way Betty spells "cooky."  This is a 1978 printing of the 1963 (I think) edition.  Goodwill, $2.62.

3.  My Money's Worth!  I'm a little unsure about this volume.  It seems to be part of a set called "Woman Alive", but I didn't see any of the others when I looked.  It seems textbook-y, if you know what I mean. Like something that would be used in a High School Home Ec class.  Anyway, there are all sorts of tips for choosing healthy foods, how to dress well without paying a lot, the best time of year to buy certain things.  The kind of information I need!  Did you know that you can expect your sewing machine to give you 24 years of service, no matter how much you spent on it?  You heard it hear first, folks!  Goodwill (the one where we hardly ever find anything), $2.62.

What I Made This Weekend Department:

A.  Vegetable soup!  With beef, actually.  Had this simmering in the Crock Pot yesterday and when we came home from shopping, the house smelled really nice.  That's kind of the magic of using a Crock Pot.  Half the batch went into the freezer.

B.  Sausage Pie!  Hubs and I both love this, despite the fact that I don't care for sausage.  It's basically just sausage, potatoes, and cheese in a pie crust, so what's not to like?  Probably not doing our arteries any good, but what the hell, right?  It's a nice, hearty dish for a cold winter's night.

C.  Weird alien organ!  LOL no, this is actually a batch of sponge candy, if you can believe it.  No, it's not attractive.  No, it doesn't look much better when it's broken up.  I can best describe this candy as a puffy, spongy, crispy caramel.  Growing up in Massachusetts, we used to find this in the stores all the time.  It's something my brother really likes.  Me, not so much.  Turns out it's also a thing in Buffalo, so I made this batch for my friend Liz, who hails from there.  Unfortunately, I think I scorched it a little.  Better luck next time?   Hubs was grossed out by it.

D.  MORE cookies?  Am I insane??  Well, clearly.  Still, 'tis the season and all that.  Hubs and I both really love chocolate covered cherries, and I've been experimenting the last few years to create a cookie with that flavor combo:  I call them Cherry Jumbles.  These are about as close as I'll ever get, I think.  They're basically sugar cookies with chopped maraschino cherries and chocolate chips, maraschino cherry juice, and almond extract.  The icing is a simple powdered sugar glaze with more cherry juice and almond extract.

No more cookies in my future (I hope), but I still have to make another batch of the sponge candy and some pink popcorn for my brother and a batch of fudge for Hubs.  Then I think that may be it.  Whew.

This week I'm linking up at  Sir Thrift A Lot, Thrifter/Maker/Fixer/Farm and We Call It Junkin 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thrifting Finds #35: Recycled finds!

Well kids, it was not a pretty week for your old Uncle Veg.  On Wednesday, I came down with some kind of weird uber cold that knocked me on my kiester.  Monday and Tuesday, I felt like I was coming down with something but it didn't happen.  That is, until Wednesday morning when it hit me in the face.  I went in to work for a little while to take care of some things and then I hightailed it right back home, where I spent the next three days just sitting on the couch doing nothing.

I realize it was just a cold, but I just hate being sick. It's so damned inconvenient.  Here I was, with an unplanned vacation and I didn't feel up to doing anything.  Oh, I set up the Christmas tree and got the cards done, but that was all I accomplished in three days.

On the other hand, it was kind of nice to just sit around and do nothing.  For instance, on Thursday it rained hard all day and for a good part of it, I just sat on the couch under the big yellow blanket with Honey on my lap listening to the rain and thinking how awesome it was.

Honey loves it when I pull out the big yellow blanket.  It's a great blanket to be sick under, if you know what I mean.  And it's kind of amazing that it's older than I am--Mom got it for her wedding shower back in 1957, and it's still nice and soft and fluffy.

By Saturday, I was feeling well enough to do the weekly marketing, etc., so Hubs and I set out to do that and hit our Saturday Thrifts.  Unfortunately, we found nothing worth buying.

They were calling for bad weather on Sunday, so Hubs and I made a pre-emptive decision to just stay home and do Christmasy things.  That was a good decision, given how things looked at 11:00:

I don't know if you can see how hard it's snowing, but it's pretty hard.  Don't forget that this is Maryland, where people panic at the first snowflake, despite the fact that we get snow every single year.

By 2:00, the snow had pretty much stopped and the snowplows came through:

But then it spent the rest of the day sleeting and freezing raining, which was just nasty.

So Hubs and I did our Christmas decorating!  Stay with me here, because there is a connection to thrifted finds, no matter how tenuous ;)

weiner dogs!

1.  Our mantle!  Mmm, nothing vintage here, though the porcelain and the Staffordshire dogs are antiques.  We used to have a much nicer garland but a couple of years ago the lights gave out and no matter what I did, I couldn't get them lit again.

Too Gay?

2.  Christmas tree!  I know it looks really pink here, but it's not.  Hubs and I went out last year just before Christmas and I saw these trees reduced from $45.00 to $19.00.  Now, Hubs has always wanted a white tree and I was certainly open to the idea, particularly one with multi-colored lights (I don't care for white lights.), and how was I supposed to say no to like, a  60% discount?  We had it in our front hall last year and decided we would alternate between the white and the green as our "main" tree.  If you look closely, you will see some of the Shiny Brite ornaments I got way back in June.

3.  More Shiny Brites!  During the same shopping trip that I got the white tree, I saw these glass urns and thought they would look nice filled with Christmas ornaments.  Unfortunately, there was no way I was going to spend 15 bucks for one.  Well, just a few weeks after Christmas, I came across this in the Goodwill, filled with a candle and seashells and sand and a bunch of other crapola.  I liked the price--five bucks--and immediately emptied the contents into the nearest trash receptacle. Those balls with the net on them are more Shiny Brites I got in March.

See?  Connection to thrifted finds?

4.  My wreath!  Yes kids, your ham-handed Uncle Veg made this his very own self a couple of years ago.  Most of the ornaments are not vintage because A) I'm not crafty at all and wasn't sure if I could pull this off and B) I lose interest easily and wasn't sure if I would see it through to the end.  If you look very closely, the small, fancy balls near the middle are thrifted finds from a Goodwill.  I'm pretty sure they weren't Shiny Brites, though.  And the pink balls around the outside are Martha Stewart ornaments I got at the Salvation Army, probably 10 years ago.  I would like to make another wreath using actual vintage ornaments but at the rate I'm going, it'll take me 50 years to come up with enough.

5.  Hubs' creche!  We have a horizontal surface on which we display either my Christmas Story buildings or Hubs' creche.  We take turns, and this year, it was Hubs' turn.  This is his childhood creche, so it's fairly old.  The figures are paper mache and as Hubs says "Grubby from three little boys playing with them."  Still, it's sweet and dear, and I love having things from Hubby's past around.

And that's really all for the thrifted finds department.  More bad weather is on the way tomorrow and I'm not sure what the weekend will hold, so who knows if we'll get to do any thrifting at all next week.

What I Made This Weekend Department:

A.  One-pot (if you're lucky) Macaroni and Cheese!  I didn't take a picture because you've seen it before.  Here's the recipe if you want to review.  The picture above is from the same post.

B.  Pork Chops!  Yeah, this picture is a retread too, but how many pictures of pork chops can you look at, you know?  Sub mashies for the spaetzle in this picture and you pretty much have a picture of what dinner was last night.  Also, I went back to using the Weis version of Shake & Bake which we like much better than the real stuff.

You can see that I didn't put too much effort into cooking this week because I also made

C.  An insane number of cookies!  These are my world-famous M&M cookies that I make for my brother.  Geez, I think I've been making them for him for at least the last 30 years.  I hate making cookies, but if I didn't make these, I truly think he would cry.  That's 11 dozen up there, by the way, but some of them are for us.  Turns out Hubs loves them too, so now I make a triple batch and spend a day cursing in the kitchen.

Okay, to be honest, it wasn't so bad this year.  The problem I have with making cookies is that there's a lot of standing around time, but it's never enough to actually go off and do something.  If you hate making cookies as much as I do, here are a couple of tips to help keep your sunny disposition.

1. Get  yourself a bigass mixer.  I finally got to put my Kenmore to its intended use (making these cookies) and it sped up the process immeasurably.  I still had to mix in two batches, but it was a lot better than doing it by hand, or borrowing my friend's Kitchenaid.

2.  Use a cookie scoop.  Get a good one, because the cheap ones are more frustrating than useful.  Makes the cookies much more uniform than trying to use a teaspoon.

3.  Have lots of baking sheets.  At least four, which is what I used.  That way you can have a batch ready to go into the oven as soon as you take one out.

4.  Have a distraction.  I often use this time to watch Christmas movies on my portable DVD player.  This year, I used my little bits of free time to make the macaroni and to wash up all the bowls and things I used in the process.

And that's pretty much all I have.  Which is fine, since this post is long enough, considering how little content it has...

Linking up with the fabulousness at  Sir Thrift A LotThe Nifty ThriftyThrifter/Maker/Fixer/Farm and We Call It Junkin 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thrifting Finds #34!

So how was your Thanksgiving?  Great, I hope.  Ours was wonderful.  There was an exploding gravy situation, but otherwise it went off without a hitch.

Thrifting.  Both Hubs and I were off Black Friday so we hit a couple of thrifts we don't usually cover.  As a matter of fact, we went to nine thrift stores this weekend, and boy, am I tired of looking at ugly Christmas crap.  Really, the stuff in the stores is just beyond the pale.

One store we went to actually participated in Black Friday.  Driving up, the parking lot was full, which it never is.  I said to Hubs "Do thrift stores do Black Friday now? Is that a thing?"  Hubs didn't know, but we finally found a parking spot.  I went in and noticed there were no carts to be had.  Odd.  Then I noticed the blackboard at the front of the store offering 50% off everything in the store.

Luckily, there was only one thing in the store I might have bought (a very cool vintage Christmas tree stand which would have been $12.50), but the checkout line was snaking all around the store.  That's not too bad until you realize that every single person in line had a cart that was overflowing with crap.

Yeah, that's not happening.

To make a long story longer, we had better luck on Sunday, which is when I picked up the following:

1.  Silver balls!  Not vintage Shiny Brites or anything, just commonplace silver Christmas tree balls.  It was Hubs' idea to fill the blue bowl with these, and I like the way it looks.  Might need to add a couple more, though.  Savers, $1.99

2.  Trivets!  Thanksgiving dinner taught me that you can't have too many trivets.  These three were all taped together and sold as a group.  I don't really care what they look like, as they will by necessity be covered while in use.  Goodwill, $1.50 for the bunch.

3.  Scumbuster!  I almost got one of these at Savers a couple of weeks ago but didn't feel like standing in line. So yesterday I saw this and snapped it up.  Other than one of the pads, it looks unused.  Of course, the hard-to-find battery doesn't work, but I can use one of the replacements I got for my Floorbuster a few months ago.  Depending on how often I use this, I might invest in another battery. Goodwill, $5.00

4.  Compact-O!  It's actually an electric defroster, but I love the name "Compact-O."  One of these was floating around a different Goodwill for a while, but they wanted six bucks for it and I was too cheap.  By waiting, I got this for half the price.  Now I can defrost my big freezer. I understand you're supposed to do that twice a year.  Are you laughing as hard as I am?  Goodwill, $3.00

Wow.  This was the biggest week of thrifting I've had in a long time!

What I Made This Weekend Department

A.  Platinum Blondes!  These are for the cookie exchange at work.  I needed 36 cookies and the recipe made 37, so I got to taste one.  Actually, it seemed kind of dry, which is weird.  Oh, well.

B.  Gallons and gallons of turkey soup!  We ended up with far fewer Thanksgiving leftovers than I had hoped for.  I saved the two drumsticks so that we could make soup.  I was extremely hesitant about doing this, probably because I had been traumatized by my mother's chicken soup.  But we gave it a go last year and it came out really well, so I did it again.  Half of the batch went into the freezer.

C.   Turkey pot pie!  No picture yet, as it hasn't been baked--I'll post it tomorrow.  I totally forgot to put the potatoes in, but it should be okay without them, right?  And look at how forward-thinking I am:  the cookies I made called for an egg plus another yolk.  So I saved the remaining egg white to brush on the crust!  How organized is that?  Okay, it's really not impressive at all, but if you knew me, you'd understand what a major accomplishment this is.
EDIT: Picture added.  Hard to tell, but I made the pie in my Flamingo Pink Pyrex pie dish!

And that's it for this week's installment. Linking up with  Sir Thrift A LotThe Nifty ThriftyThrifter/Maker/Fixer/Farm and We Call It Junkin 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thrifting Finds #33: Do I smell toast?

You probably won't be surprised if I told you that I didn't find much at the thrifts this weekend.  Matter of fact, I didn't find anything at all, which is what I suspected would happen.  To be honest, I spent Saturday shopping at the outlets with a friend of mine (and I hardly got anything there, either.  Other than a shirt and some napkins, I didn't do much to stimulate the economy.)  That meant that Sunday--the day we cover most of our stops--was spent doing the weekly marketing and all the other errands we usually do on Saturdays.

Are you getting a glimpse into how exciting our lives are?

We did manage to get to a single Goodwill yesterday, but there was squaddoo worth buying.  Strangely, most of the Christmas stuff seems to be gone already, which seems early to me.

So anyway.  Being the plan-ahead type I am, I saved a purchase from last week to post today so my little blog wouldn't be blank.  To wit:

1.  Toaster!  This is one of those Sunbeam Radiant Control toasters that lowers the bread by itself.  Because pushing that lever down is too much work, I guess.  Anyway, these sometimes go for big bucks on ebay (though see below about my disappointment and a Special Offer), so I took the chance and bought it.  It was only 3 bucks, so it wasn't much of a chance.  When I got home, I checked completed listings and they seem to be all over the place, pricewise.  It works and is nice and shiny, though the inside could use some cleaning.  I guess I'll list it because I certainly don't need it hanging around the house.  Savers, $2.99

And that's it.  Hubs and I will be hitting a couple of extra thrifts this week, so hopefully I'll find some really good stuff to report on.  Stay tuned.

What I Made This Weekend department

Basically, nothing.  Been gearing up for Thanksgiving, which means the rest of the week we eat simple stuff and stuff from the freezer.

Ebay disappointment (and a Special Offer)

Remember the Eames coat rack I sold on ebay last week?  Well, it turns out there was some damage (chips & dings) that I hadn't noticed and the buyer wants to return it.  That's fine, totally my fault and I'll learn to be more careful in the future.  I hope.  Now, the last thing in the world I want is to have that bigass box taking up room in my house, so here's the deal:

If you want it, it's yours for the price of postage.  Email me by the 11:59 PM Sunday, December 1 and on Monday morning I'll choose a winner at random.  Bear in mind that shipping for this won't be cheap--it was like 25 bucks to UPS it from MD to NC, so keep that in mind.
In case you can't find my email address easily, it's on the Meet the Cast page.

In other news

The Wonder Cup I got here turns out to be a Pampered Chef item.  Not that it makes the cup any better, just that it was likely a more expensive item than I realized.  Also, the bun warmer that I got doesn't work!  I tried it out and it was just dead, dead, dead.  Which is kind of weird, because there's hardly anything inside it to break!  Oh, well.  It was only 4 bucks, so I'm not going to cry over it.  Luckily, I kept my old one, so I'll use that one this week.

I'm starting to get into Panic Mode over Thanksgiving.  There will only be 9 of us (in our tiny little house) which isn't much, but other than napkins, I don't own more than 8 of anything.  I realize everything doesn't have to match, but that bugs me.  Yes, I like what is disapprovingly referred to as "matchy-matchy".  We'll make do, and I've certainly had more than nine people at a sit-down dinner before, so I know it'll work.  Doesn't stop me from fretting, though.
The menu will be simple:  Turkey, gravy, mashies, dressing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce (with the ridges from the can!), sauerkraut (it's a Maryland thing) and rolls.  Plus Cajun Rice with corn and beans for our vegan guest (not vegetarian, which is easy; vegan, which is not.)  My brother's girlfriend is bringing pie for dessert and in case there's milk or butter in it, I've got some nice fresh pineapple as well.  So everything's covered.  We already own all the ingredients, I just need to assemble them into actual food.
Meanwhile, my napkins are starched and ironed and I finally cut down one of our tablecloths yesterday so that it fits the table properly.  Hubs is off all week, so he'll be cleaning the house.  So progress is being made.  Yay!

And at this point, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all the happiest of Thanksgivings.  Hope you all are surrounded by family, friends, and food.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thrifting Finds #32!

Things were a little topsy-turvy here at Fondue Headquarters this weekend.  We lost our interwebz on Wednesday.  An hour on the phone with tech support on Thursday brought a technician out on Friday.  He managed to fix the problem within about 15 minutes.  Friday night, the interwebz went out again, so another hour on the phone on Saturday brought another technician out on Sunday.  This was a bit of an ordeal, as it took him nearly 3 hours to fix the problem. He had to replace our router and modem, and then take everyone in my building down.

I was okay with that.

It was still working this morning when I left for work, so yay.

On to the thrifting!

This weekend was a little more productive than the last few, I'll admit.  I still didn't get anything really fabulous, but I do like what I got.  I was tempted by a couple of things:  a Tupperware chip & dip set and a Corningware pan in a size/shape I had never seen before.  I toyed with getting them, but finally realized that I really didn't actually need either, so left them behind.  Interestingly, the Goodwill had three of the unusual Corningware pans.

Here's what I got:

1.  Magazine rack!  This is kind of mid-centuryish and I definitely need one (the one I had kept collapsing.)  Magazine racks seem to be hard to find around here for some reason.  I should probably polish the "brass" parts and wax the wood handle, but I probably won't do either because I'm lazy.  This was $8.00 at the Goodwill, which I thought kind of pricey, but as you can see, I paid it anyway (I'm kind of rich this week--see below.)

2.  Folding chairs!  I hemmed and hawed over these because the second I walk into a thrift store I become Mr. Indecisive.  We already have folding chairs, but they're from Ikea and not very sturdy.  We need folding chairs often enough to warrant having nice ones, so I'm not sure why I was so hesitant about buying these.  They're sturdy, reasonably comfortable, and they were only $4.00 each, for crying out loud.  As you can see, they did end up coming home with me.  They could do with a little wiping down, but nothing major.

(I actually bought one more thing, but I'm saving that for next week, because I think there will be very little thrifting next weekend.)

In other news:

In reading other people's blogs, I realized there are a couple of things I have never seen in a thrift store:

A) Knee huggers.  I would really like to have a few to put around the house, as I think they're kind of fun and cool.  Have never seen a single one in person.

B) Vintage tablecloths.  Christmas or otherwise.  In fact, I'm not entirely sure I've even seen contemporary tablecloths in any of the thrifts.  People keep finding the most fabulous Christmas linens all over the place, and I'm completely jealous.  I'd probably have better luck at estate sales, but we don't really seem to have those around here.

Hey, remember Creepy Snowflake Girl and the framed photograph of the gun?  Here's a little unsettling news:  they've both been sold.  At any rate, they were both gone from the store, which seems to indicate that someone bought them. *Shiver*

Ebay success!  Remember the Eames coat rack and the free laptop I got a while ago?  Well, I stuck them both up on Ebay last week, and they both sold!  It's been a while since I sold anything on Ebay, so I'm behind the times, but when did they start collecting fees on the amount of postage?  That just seems wrong to me. Between the Ebay fees and the Pay Pal fees, it's seems to be only worth posting something really valuable that you got for a song.

What I Made This Weekend Department

Crock-Pot Meatballs.  No picture because while delicious, the finished product just was not very photogenic!  There really isn't much of a recipe either--just combine a couple of cans of cream of celery soup with a good tablespoonful of beef broth base (not bouillon), Throw a bag of frozen pre-cooked meatballs in the Crock Pot (I used Aldi's Fit & Active turkey meatballs), pour the sauce on top, and cook on low for a couple of hours.  Since everything's already cooked, it really just needs to heat up.  Serve over noodles.

This is the kind of broth base I use, but I'm sure other brands would be just as good.  Just don't try to use bouillon which is super-salty, not to mention nasty.  This stuff is kind of salty too, so be careful.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza.  No picture for this either, because I haven't made it yet!  I'll update tonight, as long as the finished product is presentable.  Not much of a recipe for this one, either:  Unroll and press out a Pillsbury pizza crust.  Spread some barbecue sauce on top.  Throw some diced, cooked chicken on top of that (I love the precooked chicken chunks you get in the meat department.)  I like to put a drained can of tomatoes with chilis on, as well.  Throw on as much cheese as your conscience will allow, and bake according to the directions on the pizza crust tube.

Edit:  Here's the picture

And that's it for this week, kids!  This week I'm linking up with  Sir Thrift A LotThe Nifty Thrifty, The Remnant and We Call It Junkin 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thrifting Finds #31: Have yourself an absolutely horrifying little Christmas!

Wow.  Just wow.

Once again, hubs and I didn't find much on our rounds this weekend, but something I stumbled across turned out to be the highlight of the day.

But first, let me rant a bit.  What is up with the Christmas stuff around here?  I keep reading all these blogs where people come across the mother lode of Shiny Brites or shelf after shelf of Lefton elves, or blowmolds up the wazoo.

And I'm totes jelly, as the kids say.  (Actually, do they still say that?  I'm kind of behind the times.)

We hit seven thrift stores this weekend, and while I found a lot of Christmas stuff, 99% of it was recycled dollar store crap.  The rest of it was just ugly.  Where's all the good stuff?


Other than crappy Christmas stuff, I also came across a bunch of Pyrex, most of it horribly abused.  I even saw a couple of pieces of English Pyrex.  I didn't take a picture, but it seems a little more opaque than the typical American opal glass.  Closer to Corelle, actually.

Anyway, on to what I found.

1.  Pyrex!  It's been a while since I bought a piece of Pyrex, and I'm glad I came across this.  I already have a couple that Mom bought back in the '70s.  These are really great storage jars.  I needed something to keep flour in and was looking for some Tupperware, but I got this instead.  Pretty sure it won't hold a whole 5 pound bag, but it should fit in my freezer.  $3.00 Goodwill

I almost got a Scumbuster at Savers, but the lines were so long that I didn't feel like waiting.

Speaking of Savers, I did find something there of note.  I didn't buy it, but I took a video of it

Because it's so horrifying.

Click to watch--if you dare!!!!

This thing is horrifying on so many levels--the club foot, the creepy voice.  But the face--that scary, I-want-to-eat-your-soul face--just really did me in.  How fortuitous that the person who donated it left the batteries in so you can get the full effect.


What I Made This Weekend department

A.  Dan L's Enchilada Casserole  My friend Dan sent me this recipe a while back and I love it not just because it's from my friend, but because it originated in the Mexican food capital of the world:  Council Bluffs, Iowa.

1lb ground beef
Chopped onion
1lb can enchilada sauce
1lb can refried beans*
1lb jar salsa
Corn tortillas
Cheddar and/or Monterrey Jack cheese

Brown ground beef with the onion.  Drain and return to pan.  Stir in refried beans, enchilada sauce and salsa.  Simmer a few minutes.  Put a little of the sauce in the bottom of a greased 9X13 inch baking dish (vintage Corningware preferred) and add a layer of corn tortillas.  Layer sauce with tortillas until you run out of materials, ending with the sauce.  Put cheese on top and cover with foil.  Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Take off foil and bake another five.  Let sit at room temperature 5-10 minutes before attempting to serve.

*I leave the beans out because ew.

B.  Potato, bacon and corn chowder  Okay, I'll admit it--this isn't the best picture.  I'll take another one tonight when we actually eat it.  It'll have bacon bits on top and some lovely cheese melting in.  I got this recipe from Carnation evaporated milk and it's so easy it's embarrassing.  Still, there's something to say for an easy recipe that's delicious and made with stuff you're likely to have in your cupboards.

EDIT:  Here's what it looked like last night when I served it:

It was delish.

In other news  I had my car detailed last week!  I always thought that sort of thing was only for self-indulgent BMW drivers.  Then a while ago, hubs got a coupon for a free (!!) detailing, and man, what a difference!  He liked it so much that I got him a gift certificate for detailing last Christmas.  (There's an impossibly cute story about hubs and me giving each other identical presents last Christmas, but it's so nauseating that I'll spare you the details.)  Anyway, I finally got to use the gift certificate that hubs gave me last year.  Man, oh man, it's like having a brand-new car again!  Everything is so clean and shiny--and they totally got the coffee stains out of the mats.  The only problem is that they go kind of crazy with the Armor All.  There's a plastic mat/tray thing in the back of my car to protect the carpeting from dirt and stuff, and with all the Armor All they put on it, it's slippery as Teflon.  We did the marketing this weekend and every time I turned a corner, our groceries did a little Indy 500 thing back there.  If you're looking for a gift for a hard-to-buy-for person (hubs knows I am way too cheap to ever buy this for myself), I recommend this.

Also  I finally put the Eames coat rack and the free laptop I got up on ebay this weekend.  I already have bids on both!

Linking up this with Sir Thrift A LotThe Nifty Thrifty, and We Call It Junkin 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thrifting Finds #30: It's beginning to look a little like...

Christmas!  But just a little.  I know that Halloween is barely over, but Thanksgiving is late this year and I like to get a head start on Christmas.  So if you hear me singing carols in the shower (and if you're in a position to do so, close your eyes, I'm nekkid!!), I hope you'll forgive me.

Anyhoo, hubs and I got to do our usual rounds this weekend, and while most of what I found wasn't very exciting, it was at least useful. Practical.  Not unlike me.  First up:

1.  Wonder Cup!  Not very glamorous, I'm afraid, but terribly useful.  In fact, I already used it when I made cookies yesterday (keep reading.)  Whoever previously owned this kept the instructions in the bottom for easy reference--I love that.  Goodwill, $1.25

2.  Buttoneer!  I got a generic one a while back and accidentally bent the all-important needle, so I was very pleased to find this on the Wall O' Bags at Savers.  I was especially pleased at the $1.99 price tag, as these always end up going for crazy money on eBay.  Did I mention that I hate sewing on buttons?  I can do it with the sewing machine fine, but that's such a hassle to set up for a single button.

3.  This thing!  I believe this is a sort of lampshade-y thing that you stick on top of one of those bigass Yankee Candles.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong.  I don't actually own any bigass Yankee candles, but I do have a couple of generic ones that get hauled out at Christmas.  I'm pretty sure this is purely decorative, rather than functional.  It was actually a Dollar Store purchase for, uh, $1.00.  I was standing in line when I saw it, and I was taken by the insouciant Santa.  Wink.

4.  Blowmold!  My first ever!  I'm pretty sure this blowmold is not vintage; I don't even think it's particularly old.  Still, it's the first one I've come across in my travels, and I couldn't beat the price.  I'd say Santa's a good two feet tall, and I haven't decided what to do with him.  He'll either go by the front door or on the balcony, or maybe I'll take him to work with me to decorate my cubicle (have to check the official "how to decorate for Christmas The Holidays memo.)  He had a $2.00 price tag attached to the cord, but that might have been from a garage sale or something, since he also had an "official" $4.00 Goodwill price on the bottom.  The cashier gave him to me for two bucks!  I have no place to store him, so once Christmas is over, back to the GW he goes.

I also bought a serving spoon for $0.25, but didn't take a picture.  You can never have too many serving spoons, particularly with Thanksgiving coming up.

What I Made This Weekend Department

A:  P-P-P-Pasta!  Technically, Penne Pasta with Pesto, Pepperoni, Parmesan, and Provolone (also meatballs, sauce and three other cheeses, but those don't begin with P.)  
The verdict?  Pretty pedestrian.
This wasn't an actual recipe, just something I threw together, using ingredients we like.  Unfortunately, it came out kind of bland, despite tossing in some crushed red pepper to give it a little oomph.  I didn't use much pesto because it tends to take over and the pepperoni wasn't very spicy.  So, while it wasn't bad, it just wasn't knock-your-socks-off good, either.

B.  Dr. Martin's Mix!  This recipe comes from The I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken.  I'm not going to give the recipe because you all--every single one of you--need to own this book.  And every other book she wrote, too.  I've read her books literally dozens of times and I still laugh out loud.  
Okay, this is basically sausage and rice. I really don't like sausage, but I love this.  It's simple, quick and one of those dishes that is better than the sum of its parts.  P.S.  I don't know what kind of rice Peg was using, but this does not need to simmer for an hour!  Twenty minutes pretty much does it.

C:  Cookies! We have a cookie exchange at work and a friend of mine is running it this year, so this is the first time I will be participating.  I made White Chocolate Macadamia cookies but I left the Macadamias out, because who wants to spend that kind of money on people at work?  They're delicious even without the nuts.  I used 1/2 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of Crisco instead of all butter.  I think next time, I will use all butter-flavor Crisco* because I like cookies that are chewy instead of crispy. Also, I think two cups of white chocolate chips were too much, so I'll cut back on them as well.  These smell great when they're baking.  I haven't gotten the review from hubs (aka Cookie Monster), but I'm pretty sure he'll approve.

*Now that butter is back to being $2.00 a pound at Aldi, it's actually cheaper than Crisco!
UPDATE:  Butter is now $1.69 a pound at Aldi.  Woohoo!

And that's it.  Seven pictures in one post, and my fingers are typed to the bone.  Not to mention the fact that I'm at work and should probably be, uh, working...

Linking up this with Sir Thrift A LotThe Nifty Thrifty, and We Call It Junkin 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Thrifting Finds #29!

Once again, it was a rather disappointing weekend for thrifting. Unfortunately, we didn't get to do our usual Sunday rounds.  Instead, we went to hubby's office and worked on a project that needed to get done.  The good thing is that, given the way the thrifts have been lately, it's unlikely we missed out on much!  With any luck, we'll be back to our usual routine next week.

I did find a couple of things, and I have some other stuff to share, which makes me feel better.  Since I really only post once a week, I hate it when we find nothing and I have nothing to post about.

So let's get to it!

1.  Blown glass snifter!  Lately, hubs and I have been hitting the thrifts and hubs makes a quick trip around then goes out to smoke while I look more carefully.  When I saw this on the shelf, I figured he had either seen it and didn't want it or missed it completely.  As soon as I spied this beauty, my little hand shot out and snatched it.  Those who have been paying attention probably realize that I love this color, having in the recent past purchased this:

...and this:
...and this:

So after I bought it, I showed it to hubs, who immediately made an "Oooh!" face and said he must have missed it.  Since he liked it so much, I gave it to him to add to his collection at work.  Also, the price was right:  $0.48!

2.  Cookbooklets!  I love these little booklets, generally put out by food manufacturers, encouraging mid-century housewives to use, say, Crisco, in everything from biscuits to coffee.  The one on the left touts Mirro bakeware, the other one is published by Pet evaporated milk.  Neither one seems to have any outstanding recipes, but I only glanced through.
And here's my rant about these.  Someone gave a buttload of these to one of the Goodwills I frequent.  What the GW has done is painstakingly adhered a non-removable price sticker to each and every one, each with the price of $1.19!!  Really, Goodwill?  A lot of these are like, four pages long, and now they're ruined by having huge price labels on them.  What they should have done was put a fistful of them in a baggie, and sold that for $1.19.  The only reason I bought these two was because it was half-off red tag day.

What I Made This Weekend Department

I'm not exactly sure why I took these pictures this weekend, but as long as I did, I thought I'd share 'em.

Dinner!  Last night we had Ritzy Pork Chops with spaetzle and mixed vegetables.  I thought the chop was kind of meh, but hubby liked his.  This is one of those dishes I'll make one more time, changing up the seasoning.  If we don't like it the second time, I won't make it again.
Go check out Heidi's blog, if you can.  She doesn't update regularly, but I've come across a lot of recipes there that I want to try.  

Tonight's dinner!  This is Chicken & Wild Rice soup, that I thought I got from Colorado Lady but when I went to look for it, I couldn't find it.  I have a really bad habit of copying recipes from the Interwebz and not noting where I got them.  We haven't had this yet, so I can't give a review.  I'll update tomorrow and let you know what we thought.  If it's good, I'll share the recipe, too.

Edit:  Hubby approved of the soup (though again, I thought it was kind of meh), so here's the recipe:

Chicken with Wild Rice Soup

1 celery rib, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion
5 1/2 cups water
1 package (4.3 oz) long grain and wild rice mix
1 envelope chicken noodle soup mix
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup cooked cubed chicken

In a sauce pan saute together the onions, carrots and celery (add a little oil if you want, it's really not necessary)*.

Add the water, rice with contents of seasoning packet and soup mix. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in soup and chicken. Cook 10 minutes longer or until the rice and vegetables are tender**.

* I used a little oil because I didn't want it to stick.
**This took more than 10 minutes to cook the rice.

Goop!  That's what hubby calls it, anyway.  Actually, it's homemade moisturizer, courtesy of Colorado Lady.  Hubs and I both get really dry skin in the winter (and I've started already), and I thought I'd give this a try, just to say I did.  It certainly was easy to make!  I've only used it a couple of times and it seems pretty good, but it'll take a couple of weeks of regular use, I think, to really come to any conclusion.  I thought it was going to be too greasy for hand cream but it's not.  Still, if I make this again, I might cut down on the petroleum jelly next time.

And that's it from Fondue Headquarters!  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that next week I'll have all sorts of really nifty bargains to show you!

Linking up this week at Sir Thrift A LotThe Nifty Thrifty, and We Call It Junkin