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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Champagne Cupcakes for a Happy New Year

This New Years I experiment with making a new festive treat, Champagne cupcakes.   

 Champagne Cupcakes (Makes 12)



Cake: 

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sparkling wine, you can use something inexpensive for this.  I got a ten dollar Prosecco

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.  in a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup champagne and 1/2 cup sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble a little).  Add flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour.  Batter will be thick.

Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter.  Bake for 17-22 minutes.  Set aside.


 Frosting

2 sticks butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup sparkling wine

Bring the sparkling wine to a simmer in a small sauce pan and simmer until reduced to 2 tbsp, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.   Add the reduced sparkling wine and beat again.  Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes and decorate with gold sprinkles.


Of course New Years Eve is the time to make resolutions and I have but one this year.  I am trying to resolve to be more like my dogs and live moment by moment.  For a chronic worrier like myself this is a major challenge.  Right now I am struggling to stop obsessing over Tubby's latest blood test results which show his white blood cell count to be half what it should be.  He doesn't have any tick related diseases or signs of viral infection so of course my mind immediately jumped to cancer.   I'm doing my best not to think about but boy is it hard.  Good thoughts for my boy would be appreciated, I know he is not a youngster at nearly 13 but I don't feel like he is that ancient either and I really want him around a bit longer.

 
 We hope everyone has a lovely New Years Eve!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Silent Film Sunday-The Great Gatsby 1926

In honor of New Years Eve when we all might embrace a bit of flapper style decadence here is the trailer for the lost 1926 film version of The Great Gatsby. 
This is a fascinating piece of film history and its a real tragedy that no full print of the film exists.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Mid Century China and a Delicious Holiday Recipe

My tastes in vintage have always run more to clothes then housewares, but lately I've been thinking more and more about vintagefying my home.  While in clothing I'm partial to the 1920s and 30s, in housewares I'm strictly a mid-century gal with a love of all things kitsch.   Lately I've been seriously lusting after mid century china.

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I'm particularly partial to the Blue Heaven style china


 and I was lucky enough to receive a Christmas gift of a small start to a blue heaven collection from my dear husband, four blue heaven bowls.







Over the coming years I hope to amass a full Blue Heaven set for my dining pleasure.   Thankfully mid-century china is fairly easy to come by whether through Ebay, Etsy (the shop Kolorize has  amazing china), vintage shops or yard and estate sales.   

Of course you need a nice hearty mid-century style dish to serve on your china.  One of my favorite Holiday meals is a delicious, and fattening,  breakfast casserole.  It is super easy to make and really rakes in the compliments, several people have told me its among the best things they have ever eaten.  I strongly recommend you bite the bullet and make it, calories be damned (you can always have fruit salad the next day).

Cowboy Christmas Breakfast Casserole

1 1/2 packages Texas Toast
12 eggs
1 1lb hot Italian sausage, removed from casing
1  cup whole milk
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 bunch scallions
2 tbsp minced chives
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar
Butter for greasing pan

Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan.  Line the pan with slices of Texas Toast, cutting pieces as needed.  Cook the sausage in a skillet over medium heat until well browned.   Place the sausage on top of the Texas Toast.   Whisk the eggs and milk together and stir in the pepper, scallions, chives, salt and pepper.  Pour over the bread and sausage and sprinkle with the cheddar.  Top with a sheet of butter foil.  At this point you can store the casserole overnight in the fridge which is what I always do and then bake it in the morning.  In the morning preheat the oven to 375 and place the foil covered pan in the oven for half an hour.  Remove the foil and bake for 20 more minutes until puffed and brown.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday Fun-Christmas Recap

We hope everyone had a great Christmas this year.   Ours was a lovely, lazy day at home, a perfect day, with lots of presents piled in front of the tree:

















 We had tons of fun opening them:


















We got squeeky toys, a Planet Dog coal ball, a tuggie snow man, pajamas for the pugs, a new sweat shirt for Weasley, catnip toys and a teepee for the cats, and tons of treats.  Bob even learned to open his own presents (please ignore mom's voice in the video below, she thought the camera on the phone was not working):

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Dad got a new bike helment, sadly too big so it must be returned, a wood working book, and some comics.  Mom got a 1930s hat and  some mid century blue heaven China.



 Best of all she got a Star Trek Gorn ornament to add to her Star Trek ornament collection.

The ornaments all talk and are tons of fun for Trekkies:

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After opening all of the presents there was a bit of a mess:


We finished our Christmas with a lovely English style dinner: Roast Beef, Roast Veg, Buttered Peas, and Yorkshire Pudding.


Of course the best present was an entire spend day spent together.



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Last Minute Christmas Cookies

In case you have waited to the absolute last minute to do your Holiday baking, here are too super easy cookie recipes, one for canines and one for humans that you can whip up in a jiffy.  The first our pup friendly thumb print cookies from Doggie Dessert Chef  I made just a few changes to the recipe.

Peanut Butter and Apple Butter Thumbprint Cookies for Pups





  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple butter (I choose to use a sugar free Apple Butter rather then jam because its made of nothing but apples, so there is no risk of too much sugar or any grape juice, which can be toxic to dogs and is in many jams.)



 Preheat oven to 325.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, oats, and cinnamon in a large bowl.   In a microwave safe bowl or large glass measuring cup stir together the peanut butter, water, and chicken broth.  Microwave for 30 seconds and stir together again to combine.  Add the peanut butter mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Remove table spoon amounts of the doll, roll into balls, and then flatten slightly and make an indentation with your thumb.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Turn off the oven and allow to cool completely inside the oven.   After cookies are cool spoon apple butter into each indentation.





The second cookies are for people and are a tastier version of the classic Rice Krispie treats from the Smitten Kitchen.  They are super delicious and you can get the ingredients at any corner store.  The only change I made was to add decorative green sugar to make them Christmassey.

Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 10 ounce bag of mini marshmallows
  • heaping 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt 
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies, about a half of a box
  • 1 tbsp sparkling green sugar
Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.   Melt the butter over low heat in a large sauce pan.  Watch the butter very carefully it will melt, foam, turn golden, and then turn brown and start to smell nutty.  Stir frequently and remove from the heat as soon as it turns nutty.  Stir in the marshmallows and stir until they melt.  (You can reheat it over very low heat if they won't melt. ) Stir in the Rice Krispies and the salt and the sparkling green sugar.  Spoon into the prepared pan and allow to cool.  

I  bagged up the dog cookies, after giving one to each pup, and they will be gifts for their doggie cousins.

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 23, 2013

The Little Match Girl (1902)

I wanted to put this up yesterday but I got distracted and forgot, so here is Silent Film Sunday a day late.  This version of the Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Match Girl was made by James Williamson in 1902 and called The Little Match Seller.  Williamson was an important early film maker whose use of continuous action shots helped establish story telling structure for film. 


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Clothes of Christmas Past-Vintage Oufit Post

There is something charmingly vintage about Christmas outfits.   By this I mean outfits in red and green with sparkly details or novelty decorations.   These days people may get a new outfit for the Holidays but I think its not as common to see Christmas colors.   If the advertisements of the past are to be believe it seems that  people were once unafraid to dress, without irony, for the season

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Nowadays dressing in a Christmassy  outfit is usually seen as a joke, which I think is a shame.  I haven't worn anything Christmassey myself since I was a little girl 30 years ago, but this year I decided to put together a vintage Christmas look (sorry for the indoor photos it was too cold the day I took them to go outside)


The shamrock green jumper is from Jitterbuggin'. Their clothes are perfect replicas of 1940s originals but with the durability of modern clothing.  This green jumper is one of my favorite articles of clothing and I wrote about it previously in this post.   Its made of really thick good quality cotton fabric so you can wear it in any season. I actually have two jumpers one in navy and one in green, but the green is my favorite, both are totally worth the price.
My 1930s sweater is from Vintage and Cool Knitting  Its made from an original 1930s pattern and its another one of my favorite pieces of clothing.  I wrote about it in this post. Regiane's prices are very reasonable and I'm already thinking about my next sweater.



The cherry pin is from Lilyashlys on Ebayshe makes really nice 1940s style jewelry for very reasonable prices.  

  I made one new purchase for this outfit, everything else I already had, I wanted to be able to do some vintage Holiday hair and since mine is short  I decided a barrette was the way to go.  I got this 1950s candy cane barrette from Rose Bud Cottage on Etsy.  Enjoy your Holidays and don't be afraid to dress up and be festive, it will brighten your day!



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