May 22, 2010

At the hospital

Hi everyone,

Jessica's husband here. Jessica was admitted to the hospital earlier this week and is currently waiting for surgery. It may get a little quiet around here for a few days. Please bear with us and a sincere thank you for your understanding.


Sincerely,
Antonio (acangiano@gmail.com)

PS: Gwen, if you're reading this, Jess is truly sorry, but she's going to have to delay the giveaway that you'd had planned for the 24th. She will contact you to reschedule it as soon as possible.

May 19, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday Recipe – Scalloped Tomatoes

Sometimes the name of this recipe raises a few eyebrows, but if you’re a fan of scalloped potatoes or onions, or like stuffed tomatoes, than there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the simple, beautiful vegetables flavours in this old fashioned dish.

A classic amongst farmers and those with home gardens alike, this inexpensive casserole recipe can be whipped up with just a few simple ingredients, yet is an absolute treat. Easily made vegetarian/vegan by swapping the butter for vegan margarine, this dish is wonderful for crowds (it multiples like a dream) and has been a hit, in my experience, with dinner guests of all ages.


{This colourful vintage ad from 1960 from Del Monte Stewed Tomatoes almost looks as though it could be for the very scalloped tomato recipe in this post! :) Image via jackie121467’s Flickr stream.}


Let your imagination run wild with this versatile recipe by adding in fresh herbs, different veggies (for example eggplant instead of celery or leeks in place of onions), or even tossing some of your favourite cheese in with the bread crumb topping.

Flavourful, filling (but not heavy), and perfect with an utter myriad of other foods, this delicious recipe bursts with summertime flavours, yet is equally satisfying on the chilliest of winter days.



Scalloped Tomatoes



Ingredients

•1 19oz (540ml) can of stewed tomatoes, chopped into quarters (if desired, they can certainly be left whole)

•3 tbsp white, yellow or red onion, finely chopped

•1/4 cup green (bell) pepper, chopped

•3 tbsp celery, finely chopped

•3 tbsp flour

•4 tsp white sugar

•1 tsp kosher or sea salt

•1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

•2/3 cup soft bread crumbs (easily made from a loaf of day old bakery bread)

•2 tbsp butter (or vegan cooking margarine)



Directions

Preheat your oven to 350°F degrees (175°C/gas mark 4).

In a medium or large mixing bowl combine the stewed tomatoes with all the other vegetables. Mix the flour, sugar, salt and pepper together in a separate bowl and add to the vegetables, stirring well to coat.

Grease a 1 1/2 to 2 quart (6 to 8 cup) baking dish; add the vegetable mixture, spreading it out evenly. Top with the bread crumbs and dot with butter. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top has reached desired degree of lovely golden brown doneness.

Allow to cool for at least ten minutes before serving, then bring to the table and dish up as the fragrant scent of warm bread crumbs and roasted tomatoes wafts invitingly through the air.


Serves 3 to 4 people as a side dish


Bon app├ętit!



May 18, 2010

Flickr Favourites – May 18, 2010




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{Shabner December 52 from sweetbettie_67}




{The perfect Pair by to be, inspired}




{Midori enjoys baking by Girl Least Likely To}




{Bird’s Custard Blancmange UK 1920 from sweet_bettie67}




{Les Girls [A 1957 movie] from hytam2}




{Coral flower on Yellow by tanakawho}




{Vintage Yellow Buttons by texassurlymonkey}




{The Pink Parakeet by stylesmith}




{Yummy Ice Cream Journaling Spots by chelstastic}




{Caffeine Spider by Ariana Jordan}



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With the temperatures shooting up faster than a fireworks display in many parts of the world right now, it’s entirely natural to let you mind wander to thoughts of outdoor cooking. While these days both gals and gents partake of barbequing, during the mid-twentieth century, the grill was often the domain of men and men alone. Though women (generally) ruled the kitchen, whipping up summertime foods like potato salad, sweet tea, and ice cream cakes, the fellows were outside ensuring there was plenty of perfectly grilled meat to go around.

While flipping burgers, turning chops and sizzling steaks over the grills, chaps often wore aprons to help keep their duds clean and tidy. Recently I chanced upon a Flickr group devoted solely to the topic of vintage images of men in aprons – both of the well known barbeque variety, as well as of guys wearing aprons in an assortment of situations.

Proving that there’s a niche Flickr group from just about any topic, Men in Aprons (Vintage Only) is a fabulous look back at the yesteryear garments that fellows donned when cooking, cleaning or otherwise busy at work.


{ 1. Personal Use Only - 1954 AD, 2. Welcome to My Eternal & Virtual BBQ!, 3. Jerry, Full of Stuffing, 1952, 4. Vintage Apron Decals}

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Bright and jovial, turquoise and crisp lemony yellow pair up throughout this week’s selections of Flickr favourites, though their match really wasn’t intentional – I must simply have been drawn to these two hues lately while browsing the always sublimely inspiring pages of Flickr. It’s easy to see why that was the case though, for these exuberant colours radiate with the warmth and optimism that late May brings, when summer looms so close on the horizon you can wave to it.

I’m certainly looking forward to the coming months, they bring with them birthdays (mine, my husband’s – even our darling cat’s!), Canada Day, and a hugely anticipated visit at the start of June from my parents, amongst millions of other reasons to adore this most toasty of seasons.

What colours are on your mind at the moment, and what sorts of things are you eagerly looking forward to this summer?

May 16, 2010

You’re invited to vintage Sunday brunch

There’s an inherent, comforting beauty to Sunday mornings, tied as they are to images and memories of serenity, relaxation, and personal reflection. Perhaps no other day of the week is so ideally suited to a large, leisurely consumed meal than Sunday, which explains why brunch – a mash-up of both breakfast and lunch – has long gone hand-in-hand with the seventh day.

Having been unable to add a new edition of either Wonderful Wednesday Recipes or Saturday Snapshots this week, I thought it would be oodles of fun to merge elements of both of those posts into one, and invite you all to a marvellous Sunday brunch!

Unfortunately, it’s not possible for you to pop over to my home for a tasty meal, but we are able to gather together here and enjoy an imaginary brunch, comprised of vintage images of some of the most iconic foods and dishes one might have found at a good sized brunch spread during the mid-twentieth century.

Whether you’re in the mood for simple fare like juice and eggs, or your taste buds are yearning for something more elaborate, this spread is sure to satisfy one and all alike.

Please, pull up a chair, let the week’s worries disappear from your mind for a while, and nosh with me on a scrumptious feast of vintage brunch foods.

♥ ♥ ♥




{Before finalizing the menu for our delightful brunch (were it a being held as a "real world" event), I would have turned to engaging vintage recipe sources, such as this 1936 copy of Recipe of the Month Magazine, with its immensely cheerful breakfast bedecked cover.}



{What respectable brunch table would be even remotely complete without a freshly squeezed (or stirred, should the OJ be of the frozen variety, such as the Florida juice being promoted in this 1956 ad) pitcher of vitamin C loaded orange juice?}



{Something about the classic childhood fairytale of Jack and the Beanstalk portrayed in this charming 1950s ad (where it’s now morphed into Jack and the Grapevine) made me smile, and thus Welch’s grape juice was added to our selection of brunch beverages.}



{Many vintage cookbooks and magazines I’ve read were super keen on featuring tomato juice as part of one’s breakfast menu, and really, why not? It can be served hot, cold or at room temperature, pairs well with everything from hash brown potatoes to scrambled eggs, and is one of the lowest calorie juices around.}



{While there will, of course, be plenty of fresh milk (and cream) on hand (delivered via the milkman, naturally), what vintage meal would be complete without Carnation evaporated milk, either as a drink or used in one of our yummy recipes? (One can’t but wonder if this shot of a young fellow with milk on his upper lip constitutes the original “Got Milk” ad? ;D}



{For those who prefer a warm beverage before, during, or after their meal, a lovely selection of teas will be available, which you’re entirely welcome to enjoy al fresco, as the fine folks in this beautiful vintage King Cole Tea ad were doing.}



{If you’re still semi-asleep until your first sip of java, fear not, our brunch includes this almost whimsically named brand of coffee (Nob Hill), to help perk you right up!}



{This playful vintage French ad expresses a concept that was often used in culinary literature of the time: grapefruit was the answer for those who pondered how to stay both trim and full at the same time. However, you certainly don’t have to be counting every last calorie to enjoy one of the most classic breakfast fruits of all time – complete with an adorable maraschino cherry on top.}



{Dainty scopes of mint ice cream sit atop the fancy fruit salads on today’s menu, for a meal as a special as brunch definitely deserves to include a dessert treat to help liven up a commonplace dish like fruit salad.}



{From pancakes to waffles, drizzled over oatmeal or used a descendant touch on a bacon sandwich (as in this ad), a large bottle or two of maple syrup is a must at the breakfast – or bunch - table.}



{Light and fluffy baking powder biscuits (which we always fondly called “cloud biscuits” when I was growing up) are often a cornerstone of brunch. They pair perfectly with syrup, jam, marmalade and preserves, or alternatively, can be used to help mop up the sauce or juices from other dishes (they’re also terrific paired with gravy, if you’re in the mood for some Southern inspired cooking).}



{That great new invention everyone keeps coming other innovations to will certainly be present at our AM smorgasbord. We’ll put sliced bread to use as both regular and French toast alike, as well perhaps as some lovely little finger sandwiches for those who are craving lunchtime foods.}



{One of my favourite breakfast staples has to be jam, and while there’s no topping homemade varieties, store bought jams, jellies and preserves, such as these from A&P, are certainly a wonderful sweet treat to serve with any brunch.}



{Two fantastic breakfast foods team up in this cheerful 1950s ad for Py-O-My products, which featured mixes for blueberry muffins and coffee cake (yum and double yum!).}



{I’ve always been a big time cereal fan, and used to delight at the rare opportunity, when as a youngster, a package of assorted breakfast cereals would appear at our table. For those guests who also love to select from an array, we’ll definitely have a classic mix of cereals in adorable individual portion sized boxes, such as these from Post.}



{Sweet, juicy, and versatile, apple sauce is a marvellous invention and certainly one of my favourite ways to enjoy fruit. Here it pairs up with pancakes, strawberries and breakfast sausages, three other foods that will certainly be at our brunch buffet.}



{There’s little denying the shortening was used somewhat rather more prolifically during the mid-twentieth century than it is today, there’s also no skirting the fact that it does make for a wonderful cooking fat when you want to whip up a homemade batch of doughnuts, such as these golden little bundles of doughy goodness.}



{Long before Spam was the word given to the online equivalent of junk mail, it was (and still is) a popular brand of canned meat, which could be put to good use at any meal of the day – including brunch. In this 1940s ad its paired with waffles oozing with maple syrup and a generous sized pat of butter, for a meal that delivers both salty and sweet tastes to anyone partaking of it.}



{Rich and creamy, filling and utterly delicious, when done just right, few brunch dishes can top a plate of eggs Benedict, with their English muffin bottom, warm poached egg centre, and coat of pale sunshine yellow hollandaise sauce.}



{Last but certainly not least, this image shows a sample of just some of the dishes (including baked apples) that have helped to make our vintage brunch such a roaring success, laid out prettily on a turquoise table with darling pink dishware.}

{All images above are from Flickr. To learn more about a specific image, please click on it to be taken to its respective Flickr page.}

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Ohhh, I’m so stuffed, I don’t think I’ll be able to eat until next Sunday! Brunch has always been a favourite meal of mine, even more so from the perspective of cook (than guest), for it gives me the perfect excuse to combine a myriad of different dishes into one meal. It also allows me to use a tad more cream, a pinch of vanilla sugar, the choicest berries – anything that’s a little opulent and entirely delicious, in the name of "we don’t do this every day" style cooking.

What draws you to brunch? Are you a fan or cooking or eating it (or both)? Do you have any treasured recipes that have become your signature brunch dishes?

While I don’t get to prepare a full brunch spread all that often, when I do I always love to surround myself with the foods and people who bring me the most joy, and that, dearest friends, most certainly includes all of you. Which is entirely why I wanted to invite you to share a leisurely (imaginary) meal with me on this crisp, gorgeously sunny May morning. I hope you had a wonderful time, I know I can hardly wait to do it again sometime! :)

May 14, 2010

Vintage Fashionista Friday – May 14, 2010







{Understatedly pretty and perfectly versatile, these vintage screw back earrings feature small red ruby coloured crystal stones and brass-gold hued metal, that work splendidly together to telegraph a sophisticated yet playful vibe that would make these earrings at home as much on a picnic as they’d be on a formal dinner date. “Cherry Red Stone Vintage Earrings”, $10.00 US from etsy seller Cozy Studio.}



{Vintage grace tumbles forth from this exquisitely lovely 1950s gold coloured compact, which comes complete with a lipstick tube and a perfume tube, respectively, attached on either side (brilliant!). Ideally suited for even the tiniest of handbags, this gorgeous vintage compact could easily be refilled and used today, or alternatively, put to splendid use as a purely decorative object on your vanity. “1950s Gold Tone Compact”, $39.00 from etsy seller Cassie’s Attic.}



{This dress is like a quick wink from an admirer across a crowded room. It’s alluring yet not intimidating, flirtatious but still entirely ladylike, it’s the sort of reach-for-it classic that all glamorous women should have in their fashion arsenal. Sporting a faux leopard skin print around the collar and cuffs, a wildly feminine fitted skirt, and 1/2 length sleeves, this vintage reproduction dress is one of those stellar frocks that would see you through any season – or situation! “Blondie” dress, available in ladies sizes up to 3X, $178.00 US from Stop Staring.}



{I really do believe my heart skipped at least three beats when it I discovered this enchantingly wonderful Anna Sui nail polish set. Bursting with intoxicating beauty and feminine elegance, this rose bedecked kit features a sublimely gorgeous carrying case/make-up bag, two shades of impossibly pretty nail polish, an emery board, and jewel nail stickers, for that added dose of sparkly charm we all crave from time-to-time. Anna Suit “five piece Nail Colour Set 02”, $48.00 US from Yesstyle.com.}



{Glitz and glamorous collide in this glimmering beige stain clutch, complete with tiny feather and rhinestone detailing atop a gorgeous double bow. Couldn’t you just imagine carrying this purse with you on a warm summer night, its sandy hue just the right compliment to your gently sun-kissed skin. Carlo Fellini.”Tuscan” clutch handbag in beige (it’s also available in black and purple), currently on sale for $39.99 US from ebags.com.}



{Sweetly little red camellias, vintage 1940s glass pearls, and antique brass team up in this beautiful handmade bracelet, which would look divine with a myriad of outfits, from sundresses to cashmere winter sweaters, felt skirts to playsuits. This delightfully lovely bracelet measures 7 inches long (plus a 1.5 inch extender chain, for a total maximum length of 8.5 inches), and is available for $29.50 US from etsy seller Bumbershoot Designs.}



{Lively colours, ageless construction, and a jaunty 4 1/2 inch heel combine in this sleek pair of 1940s inspired pumps to create a positively knock-out pair of shoes that would be an amazing accompaniment to many a stunning ensemble. “Tempt Champagne and Black with Bow Heels”, available in ladies sizes 6 to 12, $65.00 US from Unique Vintage.}

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Dreary weather this past week and a lack of energy myself, have left me yearning for bright colours, gobs of vitality and anything upbeat. In particular I’ve been craving the colour red (I often “crave” having a certain colour stand out prominently in my life for a spell – does anyone else feel this way too?), so hence why this week’s gorgeous vintage fashionista, Laurinda, is decked out in this radiating, invigorating, timelessly powerful hue.

Red evokes thoughts of luscious roses, just-plucked-from-the-tree cherries still warm from the sun, romantic hearts doodled in school notebooks, fiery chili peppers, sumptuous velvet robes, perpetually gorgeous lipstick shades, and (in the more recent of eras) the crimson soles of a certain brand of designer heels. It’s a regal, fascinating, moving colour that seems right at home in the middle of May, a month that can be such a turbulent blend of weather extremes and the prolific appearance once again of gardens teaming with this passionate shade, that never ceases to give me a much needed jolt of vigour.

On the blogging front, I want to say thank you dearly to everyone who left comments on Chronically Vintage posts this past week. I truly appreciate – and adore – your visits, and want you to know that I treasure each thought you share with me.

Wishing one and all a deeply lovely weekend, complete with countless moments of tranquil bliss!

May 13, 2010

Fabulous vintage inspired Jantzen Heritage Collection swimsuits

Perhaps it’s because if the pounding rain out there keeps up, we may soon find it easier to swim around town, or maybe it’s because I’ve been housebound most days for quite a stretch now, either way, my thoughts this grey afternoon have turned to all manner of warm, delightful summer activities.

Undeniably one of the most enjoyable things to do once the temperature starts to skyrocket, is make a quick beeline to the nearest body of water (be it a lake, ocean, river, or outdoor pool) as a means of at least trying to stay cool. Though it’s been a fair number of years since I last had the pleasure of gracing a shoreline (or pool’s edge), I still enjoy the fun of admiring beautiful bathing suits, which I then often daydream about wearing to some far-flung tropical destination (or, failing that, either one of the two lakes in my hometown out in B.C.).

Recently I got wind of the fact that famed swimwear brand Jantzen is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year, an event that’s been marked by the release of several swimsuits modelled after patterns that were used by the company in decades past. This charming homage to the past translates into several absolutely smashing bathing suit designs, all of which are meant to capture the spirit of the early to mid twentieth century.

Dubbed the Heritage Collection, these new suits do a wonderful job of conjuring up thoughts of yesteryear bathing beauties thanks to their classic, feminine lines and flirty details.

Jantzen is one of the most iconic names in swimwear. Their styles once graced many a fashion magazine’s pages (both as part of spreads and via ads) as well as the bodies of countless real world women, too. To this day many who appreciate the elegance and beauty of a well made, stylish bathing costume remain loyal Jantzen fans – and as the Heritage Collection shows, it’s clear to see why.

Below are some of the stylish suits in this striking collection – any one of which most of us would love to sport come the dog days of summer (or while on vacation to some marvellously sun-kissed destination any time of the year).



{This darling emerald green one-piece conjures up thoughts of glamorous Hollywood starlets and stylish women of yesteryear sunning themselves around the pool, a cold drink never far from sight. Vamp Maillot bathing suit, $98.00 US.}



{For those who dare to bear nearly all, this playful and alluring two piece is sure to set hearts aflutter when you stroll past looking gorgeous as the summer is hot! 1930-1940 Bandeau Top and Skirted Bottom bikini set, $146.00 US.}



{Sleek and evocative of how women’s fashions in the distant future were sometimes viewed during the fifties, this shirred gunmetal hued suit features a removable halter neck strap and a ruffle bedecked neckline, both of which add to the enticing vixen appeal of this shimmery number. 1950-1960 Maillot swimsuit, $120.00 US.}



{Bright and blissful as the most azure of seas, this classically tailored bathing suit would look excellent on an array of figure types, skin tones, and alongside hair colours of nearly every shade. Pleated Solids Maillot swimdress, $106.00 US.}


These lovely Jantzen suits fall into what I consider to be the midway price range for swimwear these days. While their prices are not exactly bargain basement, they’re also not steep enough to cause complete sticker stock either. And with a month or two to go until summer really swings into high gear (well, in some parts of the world at least – including, by the look of things at the moment, Toronto!), it means that if any of these bathing suits is really beckoning you, you still have a bit of time to save up it.

While I found the examples above on Dilliards.com (which seems to have most styles in various ladies sizes), I’ve also spotted Jantzen swimwear on sites such as swimoutlet.com and Overstock.com, and am now curious is any of the larger departments stores (or swimwear specialty shops) are stocking them up here in Canada.

Though I’ve never worn a Jantzen myself, when my mind starts to wander to those summery daydreams in which I’m nestled up on a pearl hued beach, a warm breeze rustling through my hair, it’s suits in styles like these that I envision myself in. Are these gorgeous vintage inspired bathing suits also the sort that you can easily imagine yourself wearing?

From one lover of vintage style to another, happy anniversary, Jantzen, here’s to your next hundred years!