Flea Market Finds

Yesterday morning on the way to breakfast I commented to Drew that I wish we’d see some tag sale signs. I really felt like spending the day looking for treasures, so to speak. And that’s just about when we passed the billboard that advertises what’s going on at the fairgrounds. As luck would have it, this was the the giant indoor fleamarket weekend! Perfecto! So, after some French toast and a quick run to Target we headed back to the fairgrounds (accident-free this week, thank goodness!). I could have spent hours upon hours going through books and glass and dishes. The boys were slightly less patient, so we did the best we could do.

Drew scored on comics and came home with a stack. He should be good on bedtime reading for a while now. I hedged over some vintage Pyrex because I wasn’t sure if it was a good price for a particular divided dish, and now I’m wishing I just bought the damn thing. I did hold back on milk glass and didn’t buy any. There wasn’t anything really calling out to me, anyway. I did, however, score some vintage tablecloths:

Vintage Tableclothes

I have a couple of these at home and I love them! I actually use them because, well… why not? That’s what they were meant for. (I am very big on using the things I love, including my good china.) These tablecloths were priced between $3 and $5, but the vendor sold them to me for $1 each. There was one more on her table, but it was a Mexican motif and I prefer the florals. They’re stained, but I’m going to give it my best shot to clean them up.

I also found two vintage books that I just could not leave there, The American Woman’s Cookbook (1940) and A Guide to Good Wine (1973):

Vintage Books

Photo inside cookbook

The American Woman’s Cookbook has some great stuff in it — lots of molded salads, a chapter on packing lunches, menu suggestions, fabulous dessert recipes, and even a chapter on “Cooking for Invalids.” Ah, those pre-PC days. But it stresses the importance of using whole grains, “succulent” vegetables, and sparingly using fats and sweets. I love those period cookbooks. I don’t know how anyone could pass it up! Next week I’m going to try a few recipes from it. I can’t wait.

Wedding Week!

Wow. How did it become Wedding Week so fast? Bright and early Friday morning I’ll be heading to the 413 (that’s my cheeky way of referring to W. Mass) for two jam-packed days. I really need to make my list of everything I need to remember to bring. I just know I’m going to forget something. Last week my brother ordered K’s wedding gift and I am sure she is going to LOVE it (LOL… no, it is not a pair of cufflinks 😉 Still don’t know what Mike will be getting.). I’m super excited about the rehearsal dinner because it’s being held at The Federal which is supposed to be a fantastic restaurant. The wedding reception will be at Storrowton Tavern. My friend Jenn had her reception there and it was wonderful, so I’m sure they’ll do a great job again. Busy, busy, busy week.

Birthday Girl

…neon in the window
…sirens far away
…news on the radio happy birthday happy birthday happy birthday
(Concrete Blonde)

Yes indeed, today is my birthday! I’m 32, but this morning as I was still in bed I was thinking that really, I don’t feel any older than when I was 22 (and I’m sure I still act just as immature sometimes!). So far I can’t complain about my 30s. In many ways they’re a huge improvement over my 20s; I’m a lot more confident and a lot less afraid to speak my mind — two characteristics that I could have used back then. At any rate!

So far I’ve had a great morning. Drew gave me a beautiful Tahitian pearl necklace with matching earrings. (I love black pearls – a couple years ago he gave me a strand and this is a pendant which I can wear a lot more often because it’s not quite as formal.) The boys gave me a Spider-Man card (too cute!), and I have already been overwhelmed with birthday wishes on MySpace, Facebook, and via e-mail. Thank you so much!

We’ll be celebrating on Sunday due to crazy work schedules, so my day today will hopefully just be calm and relaxing. I’m planning on baking some pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips, and Drew has promised to bring me home a slice of chocolate cake from my favorite deli. (I hope they have the Boston cream pie today! Isn’t it so confusing that Boston cream pie is really a cake? Go figure.) TGIF, peeps!

How Encouraging

I think I just need to stop reading the housing reports that come out every month. They’re nothing but depressing. This week CNN reported that “existing home sales sank 8 percent last month, to the lowest pace on record” and that “the slump pushed the glut of existing homes on the market to 4.4 million, which represents a 10.5 month supply – the biggest in 12 years.” Ugh… what times we live in right now. The New York market certainly fits that bill, but I wonder if it’s this bad everywhere. I wonder if the Arizona real estate market is any better, for example — I mean, it’s one of those areas that has been seeing a population surge over the past several years as more people decide to retire there instead of, say, Florida. Let’s just hope it turns around soon.

no duh.

no duh. The other day I found my four issues (there were six published) of the zine No Duh, which was written by Geoff Farina. Back in the way early 90s he was a relatively unknown writer/musician hanging out in Allston, MA. (Now he’s a lot more well-known thanks to his band Karate. Heck, a few years ago he was even on NPR!) Sassy magazine (remember how cool Sassy used to be?) chose No Duh as a zine of the month and shazam! It kind of took off.

I was one of those crazy teenage girls who sent my crisp dollar bill and requested a copy, and I continued to support the zine until Geoff stopped doing it. One of my letters is even published in issue #6, how crazy is that? For those who have never published a zine, trust me — it’s labor and time-intensive and once you have a whole bunch of people who want a copy, it gets really overwhelming.

I wonder if anyone out there has issues #1 and #2? I’d love to see them, if you do.

At any rate, I’m so glad these have followed me around for something like 15 years and also I’m so glad I took good care of them. The final issue looks brand-new. No Duh inspired me to start writing my own zines and I did a few. Mango Soup, was probably the most "popular" one. I wrote it with a friend who lived in VT, and we got a few other friends to contribute as well. A lot of our friends loved it and that was good enough for us. It was awesome to be part of a creative, collaborative venture like that.

Sometimes I miss life before the Internet. I know I’m riding a wave of nostalgia here, but even still… somehow things just seemed to be a lot cooler then.

Chasing Away The Chill

slowcookingbanner.jpg Well, it looks like my wish for some honest to goodness fall weather was granted! Yesterday was cold and rainy, and today is still chilly, though the sun has come out (at least for now). The 10-day outlook shows high mostly in the upper 50s, so I really can’t ask for anything more! Maybe I can finally put away my t-shirts… what do you think? At any rate, since today is also Slow Cooking Thursday, hosted by Sandra of Diary of a SAHM as always, I wanted to submit a recipe that would be a real chill-chaser. While looking through my recipe binder, I found this one for Taco Soup. I have no idea where I originally got it from. (Something tells me it might have been on the Paula Deen show, but I’m not sure). At any rate, it’s easy, it’s yummy and makes a ton so it’s great for tailgating or when you have everyone over on Sunday to watch the game — a fun alternative to chili. I hope you enjoy!

Taco Soup
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced onions
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
Corn chips, for serving
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Pickled jalapenos, for garnish

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

Almost there

Well, tomorrow is the day by which I had hoped to reach my first weight loss goal (which is to say, the realistic one — my second goal will bring me down to what I was weighing about 10 years ago, but a girl can try!). I will be four pounds short, but you know what? It doesn’t matter because I know I’ll get there (hopefully by the end of the year). I am just proud that I have done it by watching what I eat and exercising more (and honestly, not even THAT much more). Some people rely on weight loss enhancers like hydroxycut, and I guess for them that is fine. But I have to be hacking up a lung just to be convinced to take some cough medicine, LOL… At any rate, that’s my little weight loss update.

Just no words, really

My heart is just broken for everyone living in Southern California. I can’t imagine. Fire has always been one of my biggest fears and a fire that is this uncontrollable? The photo that finally made me break down in tears was this one. Imagine looking out, across the water, at that entire wall of fire. I just don’t know what to say.