Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Thrifting Finds #10!

Well.  Sorry for the lack of postage last week.  We just plain old didn't get out to do our rounds.  Because of reasons.

But we're back this week, and after a slow Saturday, I had a pretty good time on Sunday.  Shall I just cut to the chase and get on with it?


1.  Pyrex!  It's always a good shopping trip when it contains a Pyrex sighting.  Those of you who have been reading this blog know that this Cracker Barrel has been on my Wanted List.  And now I have it, sitting on top of my fridge waiting for its delicious, delicious payload of Cheez-Its.  I'm a little irritated that the lid just sits on top--there's no seal of any kind.  Does anyone know if there's supposed to be some kind of rubber gasket or something to keep my crackers from getting stale?  (Truth be told, the tasty little buggers don't usually hang around long enough to get stale.  Sigh.)  Savers, $1.99


2.  Tupperware!  This was another find at Savers this week.  I already have a butter dish (a very pedestrian one, I could certainly use something cool), but I justified this purchase by realizing that I don't have a margarine dish.  And I do use margarine some times (like here) so  I need this, right? $.99

3.  More Tupperware!  Folks, this is what eight dollars worth of Tupperware looks like.  The last stop on our rounds Sunday was a Goodwill, and I got all this there.  I think someone must have cleaned out Granny's house, because it looked like the mother lode of Tupperware; I left tons of it behind (including this cute little condiment set with two bowls, two little spoons, and a little holder, all for 2 bucks.  I'm kind of sorry about that one, but it's not like I have any use for it.)  Anyway, the canister in back was $1.00 (I need that to keep sugar), the big yellow bowl was $2.00, the larger small bowls were $.80 each and the smaller bowls were $.75 each.  I used one of the small bowls this morning to take some fruit to work in.  Now I can get rid of some of that Dollar Store crap I've been using.
There was another one of those big yellow bowls that I didn't get because the lid was warped and it wouldn't stay on.  I'd been having a similar problem with a canister lid that I already owned.  I'll know better for next time, because it looks like I may have solved the warped lid problem.  After a little Googling and just playing by ear, I took the lid and simmered it a few minutes in a skillet of water.  It didn't get as soft as I thought it would, but it softened somewhat.  Quickly, I popped it on the canister and sealed it down, then placed a pot full of cold water on top to weigh it down.  I let it cool completely and when I messed with it, the lid stayed on!  It doesn't seem to be as tight a seal as some other Tupperware, but I don't think the canisters seal as tightly as say, the bowls, anyway.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Recipe Roundup: Disasterville

Yeah, so I made this:
Click to embiggen
In my defense, I did not cover it with creamed corn.  There is, after all, a certain level below which even I will not sink.

I actually thought this might be good.  Tamale loaf?  Check.  Chicken?  Check.  No creamed corn?  Double check.  The recipe actually contains a whole tablespoon of chili powder, which is practically unheard of in 1967.  So why not?, I thought in my desperation to find something--anything--to make for dinner  (I now understand Mom's position that cooking was the easy part, it's figuring out what to make that's the real pain.)

(And right here I almost apologized for the lack of pictures, when in reality I would only have to apologize if there were pictures.)


As I was preparing this, it occurred to me too late that what I was basically making was a pound cake with chicken in it.  I also tossed in some sliced black olives, which ended up looking like raisins, really hammering home that whole chicken cake thing.  In addition, the batter was extremely thin and runny and as I poured it into the loaf pan (vintage Corningware, natch) I thought "This is never going to work."  It wasn't pretty.  And it didn't smell that great either.  I did mix it up in my Pyrex 404, so at least that part was pleasant.

I debated just tossing it and starting over, but hubs pointed out that we'll never know unless we actually try it.  So into the oven it went.

It took a little longer to bake than the recipe indicated, but it actually solidified into a chicken cake Tamale Loaf.  Of course, it stuck to the bottom of the pan, which reeeeeeeallllly didn't help the aesthetics any.

The verdict?  Edible, but just barely.  Certainly not worth making ever again.  I knew right away this was going to need as much help as possible, so I swathed our servings with cheese, salsa, and sour cream, all of which helped to take the curse off the underlying entree.

Always on the lookout for that silver lining, I decided that at the very least, this would serve as a good Bad Example.  At some point in the future, I will likely serve another loser, at which point I will be able to say (I hope) "Well, at least it's not as bad as that Chicken Cake Tamale Loaf..."

Monday, May 13, 2013

Thrifting Finds #9!

Two dollars.

That is the sum total of money hubs and I spent in the thrifts this weekend.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we were unable to do our normal Sunday rounds; we only went to one Goodwill, and that's the one where we hardly ever get anything.  We did our usual two GWs and the Rescue Mission thrift on Saturday, and it was at one of those GWs that I found my one purchase.

So what'd I get?

1.  Tupperware!  This canister is enormous.  I wanted a piece of Tupperware to keep my flour in the freezer, but this sucker won't fit on the shelf!  I suppose I could put it in the bin down below, but it might take up more real estate than it's worth.  I could probably fit about 10 pounds of flour in this and there's no way I'll ever buy that much.  It'd be great for keeping powder detergent, but we usually buy liquid.  So now I have to come up with a good use for this, because there's no way I'm getting rid of it. $2.00

And that was the only thing I bought.  Even hubs didn't get anything.

While we were out, I did take a couple of pictures of things I didn't buy.

1.  Amish man!  Amish man disapproves of your shenanigans.  Also, is that a cold sore?

2.  Nun!  I totally cracked up when I saw this.  The expression on her face is priceless.  I call her Sister Agnes Meh.

That's all, I'm afraid.  Hopefully next week will be full of Pyrex and Tupperware and all sorts of cool stuff!

Linking up (rather ashamedly) with Sir Thrift A LotThe Nifty Thrifty, and The Remnant

Monday, May 6, 2013

Thrifting Finds #8!

After a pretty slow start, this turned out to be a good weekend, thrifting-wise.  Neither hubs nor I got anything at all on Saturday, but when we started making our Sunday rounds, that all changed.  Hubs picked up (among other things) a blue vase similar to the one in this post, and yet another vase that looks like a bong!  Really, who designs those things?

This is probably the best haul I've ever had.  Shall we get started?

 1.  Fake cornflower knives! We already have a bunch of these (they match our china and silverware), but they're really cheap, so I don't think they're going to last very long.  Plus, the handles get yellow so it's nice to have spares.  Got at Savers.  $1.99

2.  Random platter!  We needed an extra platter and this one filled the bill.  I don't know the pattern name or the manufacturer as it's completely unmarked.  I kind of like it, though, and it was cheap.  The first one I picked up was $5.00.  What's up with the pricing, Goodwill?  This one cost $2.50.

3.  Chip & Dip set!  This came in the original box, but I can't for the life of me remember the manufacturer.  It's not particularly vintage, and it's only slightly cool, but I needed one and this had all the pieces in brand-new condition.  $4.00

4.  Weiner dog valet!  This was my splurge of the day.  Normally, I wouldn't pay this much for something from the Goodwill, but these don't show up very often and when they do, they're usually chipped.  This one is in perfect condition.  Plus, it's a weiner dog!  I had to buy it!  Oh, and in buying it, I broke my rule of not getting anything that I can't use.  This will have to be purely decorative.  Still, it's a weiner dog! $9.00

5.  Pyrex!  Look--I found the 403 I needed!  You can probably imagine my pleasure when I spotted this little beauty on the shelf with an unfortunately dishwashered 402 inside it.  This is in good condition--not perfect, certainly, but that's good.  If it were perfect I wouldn't use it and I like to use my stuff.  This--like my yellow 404--only says Pyrex, not the model number.  Apparently, that means it's an older model.  These older ones are supposed to be thicker than the newer ones, but I can't tell the difference. $4.00

(Minor little rant:  I was in line to pay for this behind a guy who clearly runs a business and bought $429.83 worth of stuff.  Now, if you're buying that amount of crap and the person behind you is buying one item, wouldn't you let that person go ahead of you?  I would.  Because I like to think that I'm not a douchebag.
End of rant.)

6.  More Pyrex!  And a little while later, I found the 401 I needed, thus completing my set of Primaries!  Woo hoo!  I almost didn't spot this, as there was a dog dish inside it which oddly obscured the color of the bowl.  Like the 403, it's in good, but not perfect, condition.  I doubt that I'll be using this much, as it seems pretty small to be useful.  I've used the 404 a number of times already.  $2.00

That's all, but that's plenty.  I can't remember when I've gotten so much in one day.

Linking up with the delightfulness at Sir Thrift A LotThe Nifty Thrifty, and The Remnant

Friday, May 3, 2013

Recipe Round Up!

Ridiculously Easy Mac & Cheese (that you can make in one pot if you play your cards right)

Pretty long title for a short recipe:

2 generous cups elbow macaroni
1/2 stick margarine (don't use "spread."  Look for 80% or so fat content)
1T flour
1/4t dry mustard
Salt and pepper to taste (I find this needs a lot of salt.)
1 tall can evaporated milk
8 Oz. shredded cheddar cheese.

Cook macaroni as indicated on box.  If you can do it in a stove-to-oven pan (Corningware, etc.), so much the better; you'll have one less pan to wash.
Drain macaroni and return to pot.  Over low heat, add margarine and stir to melt.  Sprinkle on flour and seasonings and blend well.  Add evaporated milk and let it get hot.  Stir in cheese a handful at a time until melted.  It's a little pale at this point, so pour into a greased casserole (if necessary) and shove it under the broiler for a minute to brown.

And look:  photo documentation!

Ingredients!  I forgot to take a picture of the macaroni, so use your imagination.  Couple of notes here:  Oddly, butter doesn't make this any better and margarine's cheaper so...  Also, lowfat or skim evaporated milk work just fine.  Don't use lowfat cheese though.  Because it's nasty.

Flour! Actually, it's the flour, mustard, salt and pepper.  Just mix it into the drained and margarined macaroni until it disappears.  At this point, you're going to think--as I did--"Oh, this will never work."  But persevere.

Cheese!  Mmmm.  Cheese.  Try not to eat it all before you add it.  Let the milk warm up before adding the cheese and keep the flame low, otherwise the cheese will get stringy.

Done!  Well, almost.  It's kind of pale at this point, so broil it a minute to brown the top.  I tried putting it in a hot oven for a while (because my broiler isn't that great), but the heat just broke down the cheese and made it a little gritty.  Still delicious, but I don't recommend baking it.

Brown! Well, sort of.  A little.  Around the edges.

This is a recipe from Family Circle (I think), around 1964 that I adapted.  The original recipe was made in a skillet without precooking the pasta, but I just didn't like the way it came out.  So I fiddled and came up with this.  The original recipe also called for a whole stick of margarine, which is nothing short of insane.  Half a stick is fine.  When you read the recipe, it doesn't sound like much--and doesn't even sound like it's going to work.  But it comes out creamy and rich and delicious.  I don't understand it at all.