December 31, 2011

Party like it's 1949!

Day 365 of Vintage 365

We've done it, sweet friends, through the highs and the lows, the smiles and the worries we've reached the last and final day of the Vintage 365 Project.

Amidst record breaking heat waves and an (albeit minor, in terms of how much we felt it up here in Ontario) earthquake, a broken foot, three surgeries, anniversaries, beloved holidays and a lot of personal turmoil in my life this past year, like a shinning beckon of old school hope, this project helped keep my spirits up and was nothing short of a joy to work on every day.

As I covered pretty much this same point in yesterday's post, I won't rehash it again, but I did just want to clarify one point (which people have actually been bringing up for several months now): while I will no longer be blogging here absolutely every day of the year, this blog is definitely still remaining active and will hopefully see the inclusion of two or more new posts each week.

Some will be chocked full of fascinating historical information, others (I hope!) photos of my vintage outfits, holiday celebrations (especially - and this will not come as a shock to any long time Chronically Vintage readers - Halloween), handy tips on a wide range of topics, gorgeous photographs and ads from days gone by, delightful web finds, scrumptious recipes, clothing sources, facts about historical figures, toe-tapping yesteryear tunes, and myriad other topics pertaining to the mid-twentieth century.

To say I look forward to what 2012 has in store both for my life and for Chronically Vintage, would be a rather hefty understatement! I'm planning on making this a year filled with as much vintage as I can possibly cram into every last nook and cranny, and cannot wait to share it will all of you!

For today though, let's all turn our attention to the holiday celebration at hand. In less than 24 hours we'll be whisking away 2011 (which I know many are apt to say "good riddance" to!), and welcoming the New Year with open arms and a highly optimistic outlook.

{Actress, dancer and comedian Olga San Juan looking shipshape and completely cheerful (just as I'm feeling right now, too!) as she rings in the New Year in this fantastic vintage image from the late 1940s. Photograph via carbonated on Flickr.}


The title of today's post is a spin on Prince's classic song, 1999, and in a nod to the fact that I want to make 2012 (as just mentioned) the most vintage filled year of my life. The past is constantly an invaluable part of my present, and I feel so blessed that I have an outlet like this blog to share my unyielding passion for all things vintage with each and every one of you.

I hope that whether you're kicking it old school tonight at a gala soirée, gathering in Times Square, spending a quiet night at home watching the ball drop (like me and the mister), or partying the night away, I sincerely hope you have a stellar New Year's Eve!!!

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, everyone for being a part of the Vintage 365 project this year. I couldn't have done it without you and am so excited to celebrate all that 2012 has in store together!

December 30, 2011

Reflecting on a year's worth of daily blog posts

Day 364 of Vintage 365

Just as the classic verses of that beloved New Year's favourite Auld Lang Syne ponder if old acquaintances should be forgotten (generally speaking, no - friends new and old are endlessly important threads in the tapestry of our lives), so too do I feel that old blog posts deserve to be remembered from time-to-time.

And what more fitting an occasion to look back a handful of the entries that graced Chronically Vintage's pages over the course of 2011 than on the second to last day of the year.

As most readers know, this past year I embarked on a daily blogging project called Vintage 365 (which would feature a different vintage related topic and image for each day of year).

The notion to do so came to me pretty much a year ago to the day, and at first seemed both so far-fetched (knowing how tricky it can be for me to blog frequently at the best of times) and seriously awesome. I gave the idea one, maybe two days of thought, but could not shake it from my mind and fell in love with it more with each passing hour.

Thus, when January 1st rolled around, I announced and began this ambitious project, which - I'm ticked pink to say - was able to weather various storms in my life over the past year and hold on tight for a full 365 days (ok, technically tomorrow will be the 365th post, but as I've already written that entry, so I can safely say that it will go live tomorrow).

Over this past year we've delved into topics as diverse as the history of mail order catalogs, dog nail polish, popular vintage baby names, the lives of vintage items before they reach you, WW2 Canadian ration coupons, Paris in the 1920s, and a new name for our grandparents' generation – to list but a few of the many, many subjects that called the Vintage 365 series home.

It's hard to believe that in less than 48 hours this project, which had been a part of my life for an entire year solid, will start to become a memory.

Though, I won't lie to you, there were days when it was tricky (for whatever reason) to post or to rustle up the mojo to keep going, more often than not I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and often found myself faced with quite the opposite problem - more topics to post about than I had days in a given week!

{Much like the upbeat looking vintage gal pictured above, I usually sat down to write posts for this year's daily blogging project with eagerness and a smile on my face. I had a blast covering such a broad range of topics, challenging myself to keep going on those tougher days, and coming up with new, varied ideas for each day's entry. Image via}

Many of you have been with me from the beginning of this project, others became avid readers along the road, and a for a few this post itself may be the first they've ever read Chronically Vintage. Wherever you joined up in this yearlong blogging adventure, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support, encouragement, comments, and inspiration.

It was you, my sweet readers, who fuelled me on and helped keep my spirits soaring high all through the year. It has been a joy and an honour to share in this daily vintage blogging project with you, and I truly look forward to all the wonderful new adventures 2012  holds in store for both this blog (which will be reverting to its pre-vintage 365 state of regular, but not continually daily posts) and all of our lives.

December 29, 2011

It's a marshmallow world in the winter

Day 363 of Vintage 365

There's a certain absolutely fabulous sense of excitement and joy that bubbles to the surface in the days between Christmas and New Year's. We're in the midst of that holiday season period when no one really feels like putting their shoulder to wheel at work or focusing on anything too worrisome – and I love it!

For as long as I can recall, I've treasured and looked forward this week - captured as it is between two of the biggest holidays of the year - and especially enjoy the fact that it's still filled with oodles upon oodles of Christmas songs being piped through speakers, radios, and even MP3 player headphones everywhere.

Upbeat, splendidly festive tunes always help to put me in a giddy, care-free mood, and without a doubt one the songs that excels most at that is the lively, marvelously fun vintage song called (It's a) Marshmallow World, which was written back in 1949.

Though it's been preformed by scores of artists over the years, for my money, it's hard to beat the exuberant, joyful version that Frank and Dean first serenated the world with decades ago.



I could - and often do - listen to this song several times everyday during December. No matter if the sun is shinning or a howling blizzard is roaring away outside, the jubilant picture this holiday tune paints is positively perfect for this week that is nestled cosily between the hustle and bustle of Christmas and the spirited gaiety of New Year's.

As I hit the play button on this song, for at least the fifth time this morning, I cannot help but smile, take a tranquil breath, and delight in the cheerful spirit that's inherent to the festive tail end of the year.

After all, regardless of if there's snow outside of not, there's a sweetness to the holidays that really does make life feel like it's a marshmallow world in the winter, and that is definitely worth being happy about. Smile

December 28, 2011

5 vintage cocktail recipes to help you ring in the New Year!

Day 362 of Vintage 365

The holiday season, by it's very nature of festive gatherings, brings with it the chance to chat and catch up with friends and loved ones, sometimes for the first time in a year, others simply the first encounter that day or week. In talking with others lately it really seems as though, just as my husband and I did, many of you also endured challenging, often stressful years throughout 2011.

With a world that is still in a very, very rocky economic state, an exceedingly hard job market, sky-high prices, a tough real estate market, several substantial nature disasters, and myriad other significant problems, one would be more than forgiven for feeling like we've all just weather one rather massive heck of the storm.

Yet, as always, there remains the prospect of brighter days for all. Even if life was a sweet as peach to you this year (as I really hope it was!), there are few amongst us who couldn't do with even less worries and many wonderful reasons to smile.

As we head straight towards New Year's Eve this coming Saturday, I thought that it would be completely fitting to share five vintage cocktail recipes with all of you, should you be looking for a tipple - beyond the usual champagne - help celebrate the awesomeness of New Year with!

{An enticing looking Creme de Cacao and Creme de Menthe filled Grasshopper positively beckons one to read the delicious vintage cocktail recipes in this lovely yesteryear DuBouchett ad. Image via Tuula on Flickr.}


While my health prevents me from being able to consume any alcohol myself, I will definitely be whipping together a scrumptious virgin drink or two for myself to enjoy merrily as we wait eagerly for the ball to drop on the 31st.

I hope that you enjoy these seriously yummy sounding vintage cocktails, dear friends, and that we're all able to wrap up 2011 on a positive note, flush with the beautiful hope and excitement of a better year to come for one and all!

December 27, 2011

Oh the weather outside is...not very frightful, actually :)

Day 361 of Vintage 365

In a country famed for the abundance - and the rather staggering volume of - snow we receive annually as a nation, it always comes as surprise when whatever corner of the country I'm calling home at the moment remains green (or nearly so) once the calendar hits and rolls on past the official start of winter.

While much of the nation has received plenty of the white stuff so far this year (my home province of British Columbia very much included), Toronto has remained relatively snowless so far this season (which is in stark contrasts to most of the other winters I've lived through here).

Though we're not exactly giving Florida a run for its money in the temperature department by any means, it is quite unusual to be so close to New Year's and not be buried up to our eyeballs in snow!

I'm the first to admit that the weather is akin to a spectator sport for many in Canada, so much so that most of us see nothing small talk-ish about bringing up this topic with strangers and our nearest and dearest alike, and I fully I realize that it's not exactly the most riveting of subjects to many in other parts of the world (unless its doing something rather extreme or unexpected that is - like if snow suddenly fell here in the middle of July!).

There are pros to not walking up to avalanche-esque volumes of snow each morning; it makes navigating sidewalks and roads (assuming they're not overly icy) worlds safer, and can also mean that fashionistas get to enjoy sporting footwear other than clunky, workhorse snow boots when outdoors for much longer than usual.

Yet - and clearly, this must be my Canadian DNA - I can't help but crave snow, at least initially, come the nippiest season of the year. While my health prevents me from being able to partake in most winter sports (or summer ones for the matter), there's nothing to stop me from looking the part of a seasoned snow bunny come December and January - especially when I've got wonderful vintage images like the one of Wanda Hendrix below to inspire my cold weather wardrobe.

{Beautiful actress Wanda Hendrix looking radiantly cheerful and set for a fabulous day of swishing down the slops, in this lovely winter photograph from 1950. Image via Carbonated on Flickr.}


As, at the end of the frosty day, this is still Canada, I know that there's a snowball's chance, if you'll pardon the pun, that the whole winter will play out on such a dry note. Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me in the absolute least if I woke up tomorrow and there was a foot of snow glistening like a sea of diamonds on the balcony.

Regardless of when Old Man Winter really gives it his all this season, the temps are still on the shy side of freezing and there are plenty of occasions to dress nearly as heartily as though one was headed out for a day on the slopes - or, as I prefer, to look glamorous in front of a roaring fire at the ski lodge, cup of hot cocoa and vintage fashion magazine in hand.

December 26, 2011

My annual Boxing Day blogroll cleanup tradition

Day 360 of Vintage 365

Stuffed to the gills with immensely delicious food, giddy from the past day’s merriment, and relaxed by the fact that for many of us today means a day free from our jobs, it might seem a tad odd that I have a Boxing Day tradition that pertains to cleaning.

Lest you think I'm getting an especially early jump on my spring cleaning, allow me to explain. You see, once a year I like to go through the blog roll here on Chronically Vintage and tidy things up, removing any sites that no longer exist (shut down by their authors), which have switched to "by invite only" status, or that are no longer good matches for this site.

Having been awake for hours already, I've completed the blog tidying process for this year. It's always deeply interesting to see which blogs are still going strong and which, for whatever reason, have decided to shut down or have become abandoned (by which I mean their owners suddenly stopped blogging and did not create a post saying that they were planning to do such).

{Nothing as arduous as scrubbing the stove for me today, just doing a little light online housekeeping this fine, frosty Boxing Day. Vintage Kleenoff Jelly ad via alsis35 on Flickr.}

In the case of the later, I generally have a one year rule, by which I mean if a given blog has not seen any new activity for a year or longer, I'm more inclined to remove it from my blog roll. However, even there one encounters exceptions, because (given the historically geared nature of the topics many vintage loving bloggers cover) the content on such sites may still be of great interest to fellow vintage fans and I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on a great site simply because it's no longer going strong.

Though I do not count the precise number of links that I remove each year, I'd ballpark things and say that this time around my blog roll was shortened by about 20%. As I add new links to it throughout the year however, there's a very decent chance that come Boxing Day 2012, it will once again be much the same size as it was prior to this morning.

In fact, in briefly visiting every single blog on listing in my sidebar today, I discovered (through posts on various sites) three or four new (to me) vintage blogs, which of course I added to the roster.

One might wonder why I opted to assign Boxing Day to this yearly task and the I believe that the first time around it was something that just came about originally. Back then, in December 2009, Chronically Vintage had been online for the better part of a year and I figured it was time I pruned by blog roll (as described above) to make sure it was in peak shape for my wonderful blog visitors to enjoy.

As way of ensuring this job was carried out annual, it made sense from there on out to stick with the same day each year, and thus my annual Boxing Day tradition of tidying up my blogroll was born.

That, however, is just about the only "job" I'll be doing today. There's too many scrumptious Christmas leftovers to eat, vintage holiday songs to enjoy, and new presents to delight in to devote this marvelous day of relaxation to anything more arduous than that. Smile

Wishing you all a terrifically fun Boxing Day, however you opt to spend it, sweet dears!

December 25, 2011

Wishing you each a gorgeous Christmas!

Day 359 of Vintage 365

{Sweetly beautiful, pink vintage and shabby chic Christmas themed images via the following Flickr sources: 1. accordion & violin angels, 2. vintage Christmas, 3. Vintage Christmas, 4. pink christmas tree, 5. Angelina's Christmas in July Card and Tag Swap Sneak Peek #1, 6. vintage flocked pink deer, 7. vintage christmas pink glass ornaments, 8. Vintage Christmas Cards, 9. christmas ornaments, 10. Vintage Pastel Christmas, 11. PINK Vintage Glass Christmas Ornaments, 12. Christmas N Pink 1957, 13. Looking forward to better days to come}

My very dear friends, on this most resplendently special of days, teaming with merriment and great joy, I wish you each a marvelous Christmas filled with every sweet and wonderful thing your heart desires.

May today and the the remainder of the holiday season be as magical and bright as a glimmering star atop a Christmas tree, and may you be blessed by a New Year that grants you great peace, good health, and countless fantastic vintage finds!

December 24, 2011

A vintage reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Day 358 of Vintage 365

In a season whirling with traditions, one that has long stood out for me as a particularly treasured favourite is the memory of my mother, her voice as sweet as a celestial angel, reading A Visit from St. Nicholas to my siblings and I each year when were were growing up.

Once the pale December sun had set and a night that would see little (if any) slumber for us youngsters had taken up residency in the frosty world outside, my mom would open the thick book of Christmas carols that adorned our glass topped coffee table, gather us to her side, and proceed to bring to life each of the words in Clement Clarke Moore's perpetual holiday classic.

Penned nearly two hundred years (1823 to be exact), A Visit from St. Nicholas, often known 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, is as endearing a symbol of the holiday season as snowflakes, candy canes, or elegant Christmas trees.

While some of the groundwork for our modern day Santa Claus was certainly in place long before Moore penned his beautiful holiday piece, it is from this festive poem that the world largely developed the character of Santa that is most familiar to those of us in many parts of the world today - that of a jolly, busy elderly gentleman soaring through the air with his team of enchanted reindeer to deliver gifts to sleeping children everywhere.

And it was that, that enthralling picture painted out in words, of St. Nick's impending visit that helped to make my mother's reading so incredibly special for me, fueling  as it did, my wide-eyed childhood excitement of the seemingly magical night that would transpire before dawn broke on December 25th.
Even long after I realized the truth about Santa, I continued to adore my mother's traditional reading with the same joy and excitement, for now it encompassed both fond memories of the past and the jubilance of Christmas morning, no matter who had placed the packages beneath the tree.

Though I do not have children of my own to carrying on this sweet, deeply special tradition with yet, that does not stop me from making a one man audience out of my husband each Christmas Eve, hefty carol book in hand, as I recite A Visit from St. Nicholas aloud for both of us to enjoy.

Should you be in the mood today to hear a reading of this beautiful classic yourself, take a page from the vintage Christmas book and spend a few minutes listening to Perry Como's wonderful rendition of this marvelous early 19th century holiday poem.

If you're like me, you'll find it impossible to soak up the joyful words of this Christmas masterpiece and not be transported back to your youth, while at the same time delighting in the increased sense of excitement it creates for December 25th deep in your soul to this very day.

May visions of sugar plums dance in each of your heads this evening, dear friends, and may you know that I'm sending out countless wishes for a Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

December 23, 2011

Terrifically tasty Leftover Christmas Turkey Pot Pie

Day 357 of Vintage 365

As much as I love and merrily look forward to Christmas dinner each year, I can't help but also adore the additional meals made from the various leftover holiday dishes that follow in the days come after the 25th.

Every year without fail when I was growing up, my mom was guaranteed to make at least two specific recipes with the leftover feast day meat: turkey vegetable soup and today's feature dish, turkey pot pie.

{The star ingredient of this excellent meat pie is definitely the turkey, a time-honoured Christmas food that the world has been enjoying for hundreds of years. This particular vintage cookbook image (which comes by way alsis35 on Flickr) of a roast turkey isn't quite that old however, hailing as it does from a Sears Freezer Booklet from the late 1950s.}


If you've never experienced the joy of a homemade turkey pot pie, are you in one fantastically lovely treat!  And if, like me, you already count meat pies amongst your favourite foods of all time, then you'll definitely want to give this rich, flake, endlessly scrumptious turkey version a spin - it's bound to become a beloved classic at your house, too.



Leftover Christmas Turkey Pot Pie


For the Quiche Pastry

-1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

-3/4 tsp salt

-1/2 cup shortening

-1 egg

-3/4 tsp white vinegar

-Cold water

For the Turkey Pie Filling

-1/4 cup butter

-6 - 7 tbsp instant flour (aka, Easy Blend Flour)

-2 cups turkey or chicken stock (or 1 cup stock, 1 cup water and on chicken bullion cube)

-1/2 tbs salt

-Dash of freshly ground black pepper

-1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

-1/3 cup sliced celery

-1/3 cup sliced carrot

-1/3 cup green peas

-1 medium sized potato, peeled and cubed into small pieces

-2 cups cooked turkey, cubed

-Quiche crust + 1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp water


For the Quiche Pastry

In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the flour and salt, cut in the shortening (using a pastry blender or pair of forks) until the mixture looks like course meal.

In a measuring cup beat egg and vinegar, add water to bring total volume to 1/4 of a cup. Gradually add liquid to flour mixture until dough clings together, stir with a fork so that the mixture is very well combined.

Form dough into a ball and roll out on a flour surface, dividing dough into two crusts (as this is a two crust pie). Use right away or wrap very securely in Saran wrap and store in the fridge, uncooked, for up to one week.

For the Turkey Pie Filling

In a large, deep frying pan or a medium sized pot, melt butter over medium heat and add flour, stirring to form a roux. Slowly add the stock, stirring constantly until mixture thickens.

Place all vegetables in a microwave safe dish and microwave for two minutes to soften them up a tad before adding them to the sauce mixture.

Add vegetables, meat and seasonings to sauce, then pour mixture into prepared pie crust (which you've already placed in a deep walled 9 or 10 inch pie dish or pan).

Cover turkey mixture with top crust, seal edges with fork or your fingers, and brush the top of the crust with egg and water mixture (1 egg and 1tbsp water). Piece a few tiny air holes with a fork in the top of pie.

Bake at 350°F (175°C/gas mark 4) for 50-55 minutes or until crust is nicely golden on top. Be sure to watch this pie closely though, as you don't want the rich quiche crust to brown too darkly.

Remove turkey pot pie from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving (as this will help it firm up a bit before you cut into it).

This recipe makes about 8 slices of pie, which should you have any leftover, can be kept (well covered) in the fridge for up to three days.

It's tons of fun to both come up with new recipes for leftover holiday ingredients beyond - delicious as they are - just sandwiches, and turn to classics like this hearty, awesomely creamy turkey pot pie (which I should mention, can also be made with chicken instead of turkey at any time of the year).
In fact I love creating dishes from the meat that's left after our feast on the 25th so much that I often buy an extra large turkey just to ensure there will be plenty of leftovers to work with.
I hope you enjoyed this week's quintet of classic holiday recipes that hold a special place in my heart, and that if you try any of them out, you'll love them as much as I do.
Wishing you each an absolutely wonderful Christmas Eve, Eve that’s filled with all kinds of delicious treats and endlessly sweet memories!


December 22, 2011

Announcing Blue Velvet Vintage's wonderful Classic Glamour Photo Contest

The holiday season, richly adorned as it so often is with a myriad of beautiful babbles, ornaments, garlands and sundry other decorations, is amongst (if not the very most) glamorous time of the year.

Even if you prefer to keep your decorations on the more subdued side for Christmas, come New Year's Eve, most of us love to surround ourselves with (or in!) bling, glitz, and sparkle. Doing so seems to almost inherently up the excitement factor and sense of optimism about the impending year, as we wait eagerly to bid farewell to the old and welcome the new with open arms.

Channelling the unmistakably gorgeous vibe of the holiday season is a photo contest that beloved online clothing seller Blue Velvet Vintage recently announced.

{A gorgeous example, that was posted on Facebook, of the entries that have have already been submitted for Blue Velvet Vintage's wonderful holiday season Classic Glamour Photo Contest.}


The Classic Glamour Photo Contest is geared at vintageistas everywhere who're in the mood to dress up in their winter holiday finest this year, for a chance to win the top prize of a $150.00 gift certificate from Blue Velvet Vintage (there are also second and third prizes of $100 and $50 gift certificates, respectively).

As this exciting contest is only open to US residents, I (Canadian gal that I am) won't be able to participate in it myself, but knowing how many of Chronically Vintage fabulous readers reside in American, I really wanted to share this exciting contest with of all you.

For more details about this festive holiday photos contest (which is open for submissions between December 19th and January 4, 2012; voting, which will take place on Facebook, is set to run until January 18th), be sure to check our Blue Vintage Velvet's Facebook page.

If any of you super stylish gals enters, be sure to let me know, as I'd absolutely love to see you sporting your favourite, endlessly chic vintage holiday wear!

Sweetly fantastic Christmastime Chocolate Mint Brownies

Day 356 of Vintage 365

Yesterday's post centered around my favourite cheese ball recipe of all time, and today's is dedicated to another absolute fave: my mom's swoony-worthy Chocolate Mint Brownies.

For me, even factoring in tried-and-true classics like fruitcake, gingerbread cookies, plum pudding, and shortbread, there is perhaps no other sweet treat that so perfectly captures the essence of Christmas for me.

Each year as youngster I would wait, wide-eyed with anticipation, for the glorious day when my mom would prepare a big tray of these, her signature holiday brownies. They would then be cut into bite sized squares and tucked neatly into a large plastic Tupperware container to be mixed with other festive cookies, candies, and assorted sweet morsels during the holiday season.

{Classic semi-sweet chocolate, like that produced by Baker's, helps give this wonderful Christmas brownie recipe a deep, addictively delicious cocoa-y flavour. Vintage Baker's Chocolate ad - complete with two great sounding recipes - from 1953 by way of Eudaemonius on Flickr.}

If your Christmas baking repertoire is currently lacking a brownie recipe - or in need of another one - I simply cannot suggest you give this scrumptious, dense, marvelously pepperminty one a go strongly enough.


Christmastime Chocolate Mint Brownies


For the Brownies

-1 cup white sugar

-1/2 cup shortening, softened

-2 eggs

-1/s cup all-purpose flour

-2 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted (right before using)

-Pinch of salt

-3/4 cup choppd walnuts (or almonds, I love either version)

-1/2 tsp vanilla extra

For the icing (frosting)

-3 tbsp margarine or butter, softened

-1 tsp peppermint extract

-1/2 tsp green food colouring (option, but it does give the finished brownies such a fun, festive look)

-2 cups sifted icing (powdered) sugar

-1 to 2 tbsp milk

-1 square semi-sweet chocolate, melted



For the Brownies

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

In a medium or large mixing bowl, cream together shortening and white sugar (I like to use an electric mixer, but you can do it by hand if you don't have one).

Beat in eggs and combine thoroughly before adding in the melted chocolate; mix until very well combined. Next add in the flour, salt, nuts and vanilla; mix well to combine.

Spread into a greased 8X8 inch baking pan (I usually use a glass Pyrex one). Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow brownies to cool to room temperature before icing (frosting).


For the icing (frosting)

Cream together butter, peppermint extract, and food colouring (if using) in a medium sized mixing bowl, adding in the icing (powdered) sugar a little at a time until thoroughly well combined.

Add in milk (as needed) and mix until icing (frosting) is smooth. Ice (frost) cooled brownies, covering evenly. Once iced (frosted) drizzle melted semi-sweet chocolate over brownies and allow chocolate to firm up before serving.

Store peppermint brownies in an air tight container for up to five days, or freeze (and oh-mah-goodness are they amazing when eaten while frozen!) for as long as three months.




Whereas there are some holiday recipes I'll sneak in at other times of the year, there's something rather special about having these brownies (well, technically the gluten-free version that I have to make these days, but which, I'm happy to report still tastes markedly similar), sweet and bursting with minty flavour, to look forward to with that same childlike anticipation each year - even if I'm the one baking them. Smile

December 21, 2011

My favourite vintage inspired cheese ball recipe ever!

Day 355 of Vintage 365

On this, the third day in our five part series of treasured family Christmas recipes (and, interestingly, also the tenth to last day of 2011), I wanted to share with you a recipe that I think I could, gleefully, eat every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of.

One might think that's mighty high praise for a simple cheese ball, and indeed it is, but to my mind at least, this is the best such cheese spread I've ever encountered, and I have my mom's beloved holiday recipe collection to thank for it.

Utilizing a mere handful of ingredients, this fabulously yummy spread (or dip, if you have sturdy foods to dunk into it) is on that I make religiously every holiday season. In fact, I adore it so much, I sometimes can't wait a full year to enjoy it again and whip it up for parties, special occasions, or simply when the mood strikes in between Decembers.

{Worcestershire sauce, a highly classic British ingredient, ads a delightful kick to today's Christmas cheese ball recipe. Vintage Lea and Perrins ad from 1950 by way of alsis35 on Flickr.}

It pairs terrifically with a wide host of crackers, breads, flat breads, and also melba toast. You can certainly use it with raw veggies, too, though I feel it shines best when paired with crackers and breads.

Triscuits, Ritz, Sociables, (Christie's) Swiss Cheese, Vegetable Thins, and Wheat Thins rank highly amongst the most popular crackers, in particular, amongst my family when serving this awesome cheese ball.



Lynn's Green Onion Christmas Cheese Ball


-1 package (8 ounces/225 grams) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened

-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

-3 green onion stalks (green and white parts), finely chopped

-1 jar (2 ounces/55 grams) diced pimientos, well drained

-2 tbsp butter of margarine, melted

-1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

-Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, to taste

-Assorted crackers and/or breads to serve with cheese ball


In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until fluffy. Add in all other ingredients and continue to mix until everything is well combined.

Using a spatula or wooden spoon, press mixture firmly into the bottom of the bowl; smooth top. Cover and refrigerate for at least five hours before serving (if you can refrain yourself from nibbling a bite of two for that long).

Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before unmoulding. Turn out cheese ball mixture onto a serving plate, or shape into a ball with your hands and serve surrounded by crackers on a platter.

Yields one cheese ball (approx. 2 1/2 cups of spread), that will keep (if covered) in the fridge for up to four days. You can (and should!) multiple this recipe to your heart's content.


A culinary magic of sorts tastes place when the abundance of green onions, nippy cheddar, pimento, and seasonings combine in a blanket of cream cheese in this marvelous, totally 1950s worthy holiday spread, that endears it to my heart year after year, decade after decade.

If I was hosting a holiday cocktail party and could (for whatever reason) only make one dish from scratch for my guest to enjoy, this would definitely be it. Smile

December 20, 2011

Wonderful Cherry Nut Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Day 354 of Vintage 365

Call me biased, but my mom - who is a stellar home cook, period - is amongst the best bakers I've ever encountered in my whole life, and there are few arenas where her culinary skills shine more brightly than when she makes her annual trove of flat out amazing holiday desserts and sweet treats.

Today's recipe, the second in this week's series of my family's classic Christmas dishes, is amongst my favourite holiday cookies of all time (and is one that I often make for friends and family to enjoy during this festive time season, just as my mom still does, too).

{Utilizing classic mid-twentieth century ingredients, including margarine, these festive shortbread cookies have the sort of timeless appeal ensures they'll continue to be loved by generations to come. Beautifully illustrated 1950s margarine ad via Paul.Malon on Flickr.}
Much like turkey gravy, mincemeat pie, or plum pudding, for me the aroma of these delightful little rounds of glistening red fruit studded cookies instantly evokes memories of Christmases past and is endlessly tied to holiday meals, past and present, for me and my family.

Cherry Nut Shortbread Cookies


-1 cup softened (but not melted) margarine
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup chopped nuts (my family usually uses walnuts, but anything from pistachios to almonds would work nicely, too)
-1/2 cup finely chopped (drained) maraschino cherries
-Sifted icing sugar (to dust cookies with after they're baked)


In a medium to large sized mixing bowl, thoroughly cream the margarine and sugar together either by hand or with an electric mixer; blend in the vanilla. Add flour and salt, sifted together, and stir well.
Fold in chopped nuts and cherries, then chill dough (in mixing bowl) in the fridge for at least one hour.

Shape dough into one inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about half an inch apart (these cookies really don't expand very much upon baking). Bake at 325°F (160°C/gas mark 3) for 18-20 minutes, placing cookie sheet on an oven rack that is a little higher than the center of your oven.

Transfer cookies to cooling racks and while still a warm, dust liberally with icing (powdered) sugar.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze (and these do freeze really nicely - they even taste delicious when eaten frozen!) for four months.

I love how easy this recipe is to make and that one can often prepare it simply based on ingredients you have in your pantry already (especially at this time of the year).

You can multiple it as your heart desires, and also (for a fun change of pace) use green maraschino cherries instead of red, if you'd like. Either way, the inclusion of these splendidly sweet jarred fruits lends this scrumptious holiday cookie recipe such a marvelous vintage vibe.

Happy cookie baking and a very joyful Christmas countdown to all of you!

December 19, 2011

By request: My mom’s traditional turkey stuffing recipe

Day 353 of Vintage 365

A fun idea occurred to me a couple of nights ago (or should I say, more accurately, in the wee hours of a pitch black, rainy morning), spurred on by a comment that was left on last Wednesday's vintage recipe post about cornbread stuffing.

In the course of that post I briefly discussed my mother's turkey stuffing, which certainly has roots stretching back to further generations and pulls quite heavily from a traditional British onion and sage stuffing, though that side of my family tree does not contain any direct ties back the UK.

This quick mention of my mom's classic recipe lead a Chronically Vintage reader named Nuranar to leave the following comment, "Your mother's stuffing sounds wonderful! Would you be open to considering sharing the recipe? I've never been much of a stuffing fan, but this one sounds like I might really like it. :)".

I'm always happy to try and give my fabulous readers what they ask for, so today (on the heel's of yesterday's post about Historical US Christmas Dinner Menus) I'll be sharing the stuffing recipe that my mom made (much to my delight), without fail, every Christmas (and Thanksgiving) dinner during my childhood.

{Bacon drippings adds a wonderful depth of flavour to this delicious stuffing recipe, while also helping to keep the finished dish pleasantly moist. You can - as I've frequently done - chop up some of the cooked bacon and add it to the stuffing before cooking. Alternatively as this charming 1940s ad for Armour Bacon suggests, it also makes for a hearty addition to your Christmas morning meal. Vintage image by clotho98 on Flickr.}


Before delving right into that recipe however, let me tell you about the neat idea I had. Much like the countdown down to Halloween series of articles back in October, I thought it would be oodles of fun to share five Christmas recipes (including today's), over the next five days (a mini series of entries within the bigger scope of the Vintage 365 post series) with all of you, that are especially near and dear to my heart.

Between today and this Friday (the 23rd), I'll post a different holiday season recipe from my own personal achieves. Each one meaningful and deeply cherished by me not only because of the fact I've enjoyed them since I was a little girl, but also because they've come to be a cherished part of my own Christmas menu, whether I'm cooking simply for myself and my husband, or a dinner party of twenty people.

I sincerely hope that you enjoy the next five days of classic Christmas recipes from my collection (which will include a selection of both savoury and sweet dishes, all of which have a traditional mid-century feel to them), and would certainly like to know about the holiday season recipes that you and your family adore.

So, without further ado, my I present to you my mom's marvellously fragrant, classic turkey stuffing recipe.


Traditional Schill family Christmas bread stuffing


-2 cups water or stock (chicken, turkey, or mild vegetable)

-6 cups day old white bread cubes that have intentionally been left out to air-dry overnight (the night before making your stuffing)

-2 eggs

-1 tsp salt

-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

-1/2 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)

-4 tsp ground sage

-3-4 tsp poultry seasoning

-1 cup chopped onion

-1/2 cup bacon drippings (cook bacon right before before starting the stuffing)

-1/2 cup finely chopped celery (including celery leaves, if desired)

-1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat or curly leaf parsley

-1/2 cup raisins (or more if desired - I usually put at least a full cup's worth when I make this recipe, as I adore raisins; dried cranberries, cherries, and even apricots all work delightfully well in this recipe, too, if you'd rather use one of them instead)



In a large mixing bowl, pour hot water or stock over the dried bread and allow the bread to absorb the liquid for a few minutes before adding in the eggs and all of the seasonings.

Next sauté the onions in the bacon drippings just until they begin to turn softly golden. Stir onions and drippings into the bread mixture, followed by the celery, parsley and raisins. Mix thoroughly and adjust (based on smell) the seasonings, if you feel like you'd like more sage, poultry seasoning or black pepper.

Prepare your turkey (this recipe makes enough to stuff one large, approx. 10 to 18lb, turkey; however if you need more if can very easily be doubled or even tripled) and fill cavity with stuffing. If you have more stuffing than will fit in you bird, bake the remainder separately in an over-safe baking dish alongside your turkey during the last 45 to 60 minutes of cooking.

This stuffing smells absolutely fantastic when warm - rich, as it is, with many classic holiday meal scents - and is always a crowd pleaser. Should you happen to have leftover, it will keep (well covered) in the fridge for at least three days or can be frozen for up three months.


Many thanks for the stuffing recipe request, Nuranar, and lovely inspiration for five of this week's festively themed posts.

I really look forward to sharing four more time-honoured and much loved Christmas dishes with all of you, and would absolutely love to know if you give any of them a whirl yourself this year!

December 18, 2011

Historic American Christmas dinners to inspire your own menu this year

Day 352 of Vintage 365

Without a doubt one of my favourite websites of all time is Combining my adoration for history with my lifelong passion for all things cookery related, this site is a tome and absolute labour of love devoted to preserving information about yesteryear foods. Clicking through the various pages of this richly knowledgeable hub, one can easily find themselves absorbed in gastronomic facts for hours on end.

Housing information pertaining to food that stretches back for millennia in some cases, centuries in others, and at the very least decades, it's impossible to spend time there and not walk away knowing more about the history behind what the world has been eating throughout time than when you arrived.

With Christmas a mere week away (I know, it feels like that can't possibly be the case!), I thought it would be lovely to take a peak at the Food Timeline's page devoted to historical American Christmas dinners.

Extracting menus from cookbooks reaching all the way back to 1685, this page is a beautiful overview of some of the meals that many in North America have enjoyed sitting down to on Christmas Day for the past 400+ years.

Fascinatingly, when one looks at the many items listed on that particular late 17th century menu, you encounter certain classics like roast turkey and beef, custard and jellies that are still with us today. Many of the other items have however (such as swan and sturgeon, for example), have fallen out of the modern Christmas meal repertoire .

As the decades and then centuries wore on, more and more familiar foods began to appear. In 1769 one encounters such beloved holiday classics as eggnog, Virginia ham, plum pudding, and mincemeat pie. By the 1840s a great number of vegetable dishes were making their way onto the feast table, with mashed potatoes, turnips and celery popping up amongst the generous bounty of meats, poultry, and savoury pies.

Just as one might expect during the Victorian and early Edwardian years, the menus provided on that page include a great many ornate, lavish foods that are rarely (if ever) seen at Christmas time any more, such as Timbale of Sweetbread, Consommé of Game, and Terapene au Madere.

At the same time though, one spots plenty of humbler foods as well, quite a few of which are still with us today, including roast goose, Yorkshire pudding, Brussels sprouts, cranberry jelly (sauce), chestnut stuffing, French peas, creamed parsnips (love!), and apple sauce.

As the 20th century barrelled onward all kinds of assorted dishes from Tuna Newberg to White Grape Salad with Guava Jelly spice up the menus of the 1910s and 20s. Not surprisingly, in the face of the Great Depression that ravaged the 30s, the holiday menus from those days were often considerably less ostentatious or elaborate than those of the preceding decades.

Hearty, relatively economical foods that could be stretched across more than one meal were common and included such classics as spinach, buttered onions, roast turkey and chicken, string beans, pork loin, riced potatoes, and coleslaw.

Even after the economy began to pick up at the end of the decade, Christmas diners remained relatively less elaborate affairs that more resemble the menus of today than those of the huge feast filled Edwardian era. Popular 1940s dinner choices included olives, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, oyster stuffing, buttered squash, giblet gravy, and good old-fashioned plum pudding.

{An immensely charming 1940s illustrated ad for Plymouth cars which shows a sweet grandmother basting her Christmas turkey, just as home cooks had done for generations before and certainly still do today. Image via clotho98 on Flickr.}

With WW2 behind them, people of the 1950s often had the means (and available foods, once war rationing ceased) to spend more on their Christmas dinners, yet meals were still often less about pomp and more about homey, delicious classics that the whole family looked forward to all year long.

Glazed ham was especially popular during the decade as an alternative (or alongside) turkey or goose, and on the veggie front foods such as broccoli, green salads, parsley potatoes, sweet potato soufflé, and almond green meals were frequent options.

The Christmas dinners that many of us enjoy each year today have roots stretching back for hundreds of years, though they generally draw more heavily from the menus that began to appear from the 1920s onward. A Christmas dinner from the 1950s could easily be swapped for a present day one (and vice versa) with nary a soul thinking anything was amiss.

Upholding traditions is one of the most important and beautiful aspects of the holiday season, and as the menus laid out by the Food Timeline attest, many of us happily carry on the time-honoured act of preparing a Christmas feast each year with roots reaching back to at least the mid-twentieth century.

I know that when I make my family's traditional Jell-o and fruit cocktail salad on December 25th, alongside many other recipes that were handed down to me from older family members, I'm definitely channelling some of (North) America's beloved Christmas dinners of the past – a fact that always adds to the joy of my holiday celebration.

December 17, 2011

Absolutely darling 1950s children's winter hat sets

Day 351 of Vintage 365

In my ongoing hunt for cozy, fashionable vintage winter accessories (which you may recall from my recent post about fake fur muffs), I recently came upon the most terrifically cute page of children's winter hat sets from the 1950s.

So wonderfully darling is this selection of Christmassy red and white hued hats, mittens and muffs, that there is little I could possibly say to enhance this superbly sweet roundup of vintage children's wear.


Each of these sets is overflowing with elegant, girly cuteness, while also being richly practical at the same time. Though undeniably vintage looking, I think that these styles stand the test of time and would ever bit as smashing and fashionable today as when they first appeared in the pages of 1952 winter catalog (as to which one precisely, the Flickr poster of this image, april-mo, does not specify).

While they certainly look lovely on the kids in this image, I can't help but think how becoming and beautiful these winter wear styles would look on us bigger gals, too, and will definitely be using each of these delightful hat sets as inspiration for my continuing quest for more cold weather accessories to keep me snug as a bug in a rug all season long.

December 16, 2011

The rather charming 1950s idea of a drive-through supermarket

Day 350 of Vintage 365

Having never counted myself amongst the legions of science fiction fans (minus a brief period in the early 90s when I rather enjoyed watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, though that may very have more to do with the schoolgirl crush I had at the time on Commander Riker), I don't spend too much time perusing old Sci-Fi books or magazines.

In the course of my online vintage travels however, I do sometimes chance upon an image with a science fiction or futuristic spin to it that is simply to delightful or interesting, for whatever reason, to merely pass by without giving it a second thought.

As some readers may recall back in mid-November, I posted a wonderful, completely un-space alien-esque flying saucer that tickled my fancy (let's face it, there is something rather appealing about having your own personal flying saucer to zip around the air in!), which was certainly one of the first such sci-fi inspired images to appear on Chronically Vintage.

Jump ahead to this week and what did I happened to spy when checking out one of my favourite vintage image poster's streams on Flickr (that of What Makes the Pie Shops Tick?), than the fantastically fun illustration below of a futuristic drive-through supermarket.


How marvelously fun about the idea of pulling your car up to a drive-through window and ordering all of your groceries for the week in one fell swoop? In an era that abounded with carhops and drive-in movie theaters, I can completely see why this idea took shape and am almost surprised someone didn't implement it back then.

Perhaps they didn't though, because it reality a drive-through grocery may not actually save you very much time or the store much money (if any at all). If you stopped by just to pick up three or four simple items (e.g., milk, apples, bread and potatoes), the process might go quickly, but if you had a fifty item shopping list, it could take whomever went to put together your order just about as long to gather said items than if you'd just gone into a conventional supermarket and grabbed them yourself.

Nevertheless, the idea is rather darling and has an unmistakably fun, kitschy kind of Jettisons-like quality to it. Interestingly, over the the years a few supermarket chains (such as Tesco in the UK) have dabbled with testing out drive-through grocery stores (or at least, as in the aforementioned case of Tesco, the ability for customers to place their orders online ahead of time and then pick them up upon arrival at the store), though none (that I'm aware) of have really caught on so far and this idea remains one that, for the most part, is relegated to the realm of science fiction.

I wouldn't shut the book on the concept completely yet though. As with many futuristic predictions about the mysterious world of tomorrow that were made in decades past, the drive-through supermarket - even if it differs from the concept put forth in this image from the 1950s - may yet still become a commonplace intuition one day.

December 15, 2011

The thrill of finding one of your vintage holy grails (at an amazing price, to boot!)

Day 349 of Vintage 365

We all have them, those elusive vintage items for which scarcity and/or price make them rather hard, if not downright veering on impossible, to track down.

Sometimes we're able to find the general item we're after, but it's not the right size (if I had a dollar for every time this happened to me I'd likely be a millionaire by now!) or the mark-up is so absurd it's laughable (sorry, but there’s no deadstock, non-designer labeled department store dress from the 1950s, no matter how gorgeous it is, that’s worthy of a price tag in the upper hundreds, as I've seen on a few occasions).

Many times there's a certain element to an item that makes it particularly tricky to find. You may, for example, be after a vintage canister set, yet not be able to find one in good condition that fits the colour scheme of your kitchen. Old school shoes really aren't that tricky to come by, however they generally fit those lucky tiny-footed gals (aka, size 6 and under) best, while the rest of us are left daydreaming about authentic swing dance heels in larger sizes.

For most of us there's a budget element involved with our vintage shopping. All but those with the deepest of pockets generally have to keep price in mind when scouring the web and real world haunts for vintage treasures, and this can certainly put some items further out of reach.

I've yet to met a vintage wearing gal who didn't have a long standing wish list of items she was trying to find that matched all of her criteria (correct sizing and colour, as well as over all condition, and of course price). There are certain pieces though, that get bumped up, in my books at least, a little higher than just wish list status.

These are are the proverbial holy grails of our vintage hunts. We type their names into etsy, eBay and Google searches constantly. If a friend is going second hand shopping without us, we let them know to keep their eyes peeled religiously for said items, and these pieces always at the top of our letters to Santa when Christmas rolls around.

Interesting, I've found that sometimes it's an item’s scarcity (and/or the ability to find said piece in my size) that elevates it into the realm of vintage holy grail, more than (just) the price. What makes certain things more sought after than other varies wildly from person to person. I know that for me, many of my most beloved and wished for vintage items are ones that I've been fantasizing about for years, if not decades, of my life.

They sprung from a seed of inspiration somewhere along the line, their roots nestling firmly into my psyche and soul, and so they remain, like the top of Mt.Everest, a distant, almost unachievable feat that I strive towards knowing full well the scoop of the challenge they present.

Fascinatingly however, especially if price is not your biggest deterrent, and you’re willing to put forth a hefty dose of patient (and certainly some elbow grease, when it comes to tracking down your beloved items), one's vintage holy grails can be unearthed. Every once in an extra special while, you can even score one for a rather fantastic deal.

Though, I've found, garage sales and tiny thrift stores (of the sort staffed by sweet grey haired women who love to chat as they ring up your purchase) are the best places to stumble up a dream item at an unbelievable price, despite the mass popularity of vintage clothing and other yesteryear items, paired with the sheer volume of folks who shop online for such things these days, the web can still deliver a knock-out deal on a grail from time-to-time, too.

For years now I've been on the prowl for a black quilted circle skirt in my size that didn't cost the moon. As with most of my grail and top wish list items, I'd allotted a relatively generous budget in my mind for this particular garment, but even that didn't seem to be enough to unearth one that was, in a nod to Goldilocks, neither too small or too big.

A good year or two ago, I'd actually just come to the point where I figured I'd end up making one myself some day when I got a sewing machine and had polished my skills enough to know how to add quilted stitching to a garment. Yet even with that in mind, I continued to periodically dig around the web for a black quilted circle skirt.

That particular item of clothing was on my list because a.) I adore just about all 1950s circle skirts, b.) I've been smitten with quilted circle skirts for as far back as I can remember, and c.) I don't currently have a plain black circle skirt and can really feel the hole that not having one leaves in my vintage wardrobe.

You can imagine my excitement then when, around the end of November, I happened to spy on eBay that was listed in the right size (the skirt’s listing - which I'll tell you right now, I won - said it was the right size, but I've been burned plenty of times before - so all I can do is keep my fingers crossed for now) for an absolute song on eBay.

{The eBay seller's photo of my soon-to-arrive black 1950s circle skirt, an item I'd been daydreaming about adding to my vintage wardrobe for many years.}


I found the auction a couple of days before it wrapped up and tossed my bid into the ring (I later upped that amount, as I really, really wanted to win, though in the end my first price limit was more than enough to ensure the skirt came home with me). To my absolute delight, I ended up winning the skirt for a mere $16.00 plus shipping to Canada (from the States).

As you can imagine, I was over-the-moon elated about this! Here, after several years of fastidiously hunting for one of my vintage holy grails, I found it in the right size (again, hopefully the measurements stated in the listing were accurate), colour, and for one heck of a stellar bargain! I'd have happily paid five or maybe even ten times that amount for this skirt, and couldn't believe how much I lucked out.

It's moments like winning that skirt actually, which help make the countless times you can't find something that fits your criteria easier to put up with. As you click through page after page on etsy of (for example) 1940s sundresses looking for precisely the right one, only to come up empty handed for the twenty-fifth time, it's memories of those highly sought after pieces you've already scored that truly aid in reminding you that just about everything, no matter how rare, can be discovered eventually.

It has been an age and half since I last found any of my grails, let alone one for such a great deal, and chances are it'll be awhile before another one comes along. But that's ok, I'll be floating above the ground on a cloud of happiness over this score for quite a long time to come. Just look up for the redheaded gal wearing the black quilted circle skirt and you'll know it's me. Smile

December 14, 2011

Two terrific vintage cornbread stuffing recipes

Day 348 of Vintage 365

When done well, there are few elements of a holiday meal that I love more than a great stuffing. My mother made an extremely lovely, traditional white bread version complete with raisins, celery, lashings of poultry seasoning and bacon when I was growing up that I still model my (albeit adapted to use gluten-free bread instead, so that I can eat it these days) annual Christmas stuffing on.

Whether you prefer the term stuffing or dressing (some people see them as one in the same, others feel that "stuffing" applies to something that is placed inside of the bird, whereas "dressing" is cooked alongside it or in a separate baking dish all together), there's much to be said for this marvelous holiday side dish.

The act of filling one food with another has been in place since at least the Romans (stuffed meat recipes appear in Apicius, a classic Roman cookbook that dates back to around the end of the 4th century AD), though I'd venture to guess even earlier. It's convenient (saves space, cooks two dishes at once) to stuff foods as we do with Christmas turkeys and (more so in days gone by) geese, an act which usually helps impart taste to both the meat and stuffing as the two infuse one another with their delectable flavours.

Though I do give my mom's stuffing pride-of-place in my Christmas cookery book, that it isn't to say I haven't experimented and enjoyed other turkey dressings over the years, too (both during the holidays and when I've roasted birds at other times).

In fact, some of the loveliest stuffing recipes I've ever tried were those that I found in vintage cookbooks and December editions of ladies magazines, such as as Woman's Day, which is precisely where today's pair of vintage Christmas stuffing recipes first appeared in 1960.

{Both of these marvelous vintage turkey stuffing recipes are timeless culinary gems that are well worth keeping in your holiday meal repertoire. Image via Charm and Poise on Flickr.}


Given that cornmeal/cornbread appears in both of these delectable recipes, it's fair to say that they telegraph a certain wonderfully Southern feel, especially the "Time Saver Corn Meal Dressing".

The second recipe is for "Oyster Corn Bread Dressing", which to me marries the Southern charm of cornmeal with a slightly more New England vibe care of the inclusion of oysters (though oysters do certainly appear in many recipes hailing from south of the Mason-Dixon line, too, such as the classic seafood filled po' boy sandwich).

Each recipe says that it will stuff a 10 to 12 pound bird, but you could always half the quantity for a very small turkey (or extra large chicken). By the same token though, you could double it for a hefty sized turkey or if you'd like to cook some extra dressing on the side (if like in my family, you find that a tasty stuffing always gets snapped up quickly by Christmas dressing fans who eagerly wait all year for it).

On a non-holiday meal related note, I'd like to sincerely send out my deepest thanks to all those who left wonderfully kind comments and/or sent email message by way in regards to my post yesterday about my injured foot. Your sweet, caring words mean a great deal and are definitely helping me feel better.

December 13, 2011

You just couldn't let 2011 wrap up nicely, could you, universe?

Day 347 of Vintage 365

There comes a point, in the midst of tough weeks/months/years when you just have to roll your eyes, take a deep breath, and let out a good laugh. Catharsis comes from that simple act, during which it's as though you're letting life know that it hasn't worn you to the ground or frayed your very last nerve entirely yet.

A week ago today (on the 6th), in what can only be a called a completely silly accident, I injured my left foot quite badly.

I'd been reclining on the couch for just a few minutes with both of my legs tucked up beside me. I went to get up to check on the meal I was cooking at the time in the kitchen, and didn't realize until it was too late (aka, the moment my feet were ready to hit the ground) that my left leg had fallen asleep.

As a result, I didn't have that usual sense of stability one needs to remain upright and ended up losing my balance. Luckily I was able to catch myself on the coffee table before taking a complete header, but in the process I somehow managed to mangle my left foot up rather badly in the process.

As a result I'm currently laid up and using crutches/a wheelchair until my broken foot has healed. Hopefully I'll be able to put weight on it again before Christmas arrives, as I didn't get a chance to put out my holiday decorations before this accident occurred. Right now I don't know if such will be the case though, I’ll just have to take things one day at a time and keep my fingers crossed.

{Hmmm, I’m not sure if I look as alluringly cute and cheerful as Marilyn Monroe when she was on crutches, but I'm certainly giving it the old college try! (At least I’ve got the vintage wardrobe side of things covered.) Image via}


While naturally, I'm a bit irked by the injury, things could have been worse and I should be back on my feet in a few weeks, so it's really not the end of the world by any means.

It does however make me laugh (as mentioned above) a tad, because (as I said to my husband last week) it seems that 2011 (a year that was fraught with significant problems, stress, and unexpected lousy situations like this) just couldn't even let December play out peacefully for us.

Oh well, I’m a perpetual optimistic and enjoy knowing that there's always the prospect of a better year come 2012. A thought that will definitely help keep a smile on my face as I hobble my way through the holiday season.

December 12, 2011

Celebrating Frank Sinatra's birthday with some of his best Christmas songs

Day 346 of Vintage 365

On this, the 19th to last day of the year, back in the dark WW1 filled times of 1915, one Francis Albert Sinatra was born to hardworking Italian immigrant parents in the town of Hoboken, New Jersey. The couple's only child, Francis - better know to the world and his legions of adoring fans as Frank - would go to become one of the best selling, and most beloved male recording artists of all time.

A singer, who like men as diverse as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Michael Jackson, needs no introduction, Frank Sinatra immerged onto the music scene in the midst of big band and swing dance fever to quickly skyrocket his way to a wildly successful solo career (though he did, on many occasions, sing with other stars such as Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, and Luther Vandross).

With a voice as a smooth and alluring as satin and a certain marvelous charm that translated well both through music and on the big screen, it’s incredibly easy to see why Frank - whose piercing peepers earned him the nickname Ol' Blue Eyes -  rose to popularity during the crooner-loving days of the 1940s and 50s (his first album, The Voice of Frank Sinatra, was released in 1946, though he’d already been on the music scene for a few years before then).

Though many may think that Sinatra reached his pinnacle during the 40s and 50s, he weathered the following decades and was able to ensure his career flourished well into his final years of life (he passed away on May 14, 1998), with some of his best known and most iconic songs, like the 1977 gem that is New York, New York, being recorded in the second half of the 20th century.

In celebration of both Frank Sintra's birthday and the fact that today makes just twelve quick days until December 25th, I thought it would be wonderful to enjoy a selection of beautiful Christmas songs as delivered by Frankie himself.

Sit back, light a crackling fire, snuggle up in your favourite vintage sweater, and unwind for a spell with these terrific Frank Sintra songs that are bound to put you even more in the holiday spirit.


{Let it snow}

{Santa Claus is coming to town}

{Jingle Bells}

{White Christmas}

{Oh little town of Bethlehem}

{Silent Night}

{Have yourself a merry little Christmas}


Thank you for the stellar Christmas songs, Mr. Sinatra. Today, on your birthday, and always you are endlessly missed and forever loved by music and vintage fans the world over.

December 11, 2011

Fabulously vintage inspired high heel saddle shoes

Day 345 of Vintage 365

Saddle shoes are one of those things, much like poodle skirts and bobby socks, that often gets stereotypically assigned to generic 1950s or vintage themed looks and costumes. As most of us vintage fashionistas know however, saddle shoes not only predated the 50s, they were worn with a multitude of looks by both guys and gals alike.

Based on the clean, often comfortable, lines of classic oxfords and (to a certain extent) brogues, saddle shoes are often made of leather and appear in such classic colour combinations and white and black, white and brown, and white and pink (I had a pair, which my grandma bought for me, that I wore until they were falling apart in that colour coupling when I was a little girl) - though certainly any hues you can dream up could be made in a pair of these classic shoes.

While, to my mind, saddle shoes are a truly timeless look, they do certainly evoke the mid-20th century period during which their popularly peaked. During the hardworking 40s and the optimistic 50s alike, members of both sexes in all ages could be seen sporting this causal style of shoe, in settings as diverse as the classroom to the dance floor.

I've been on the hunt for a pair of saddle shoes, be they genuine vintage or reproduction, to add to my wardrobe for ages - probably since the day that those childhood pink and white ones went to the big shoe store in the sky, come to think of it - but haven't yet found one that fit well or was within budget.

Interestingly, while doing a periodic check for saddle shoes online recently, I came across a twist on these fabulous vintage style that sees the inclusion of a sweet 2.5 inch heel added to a timeless black and white version.


These wonderfully cool black and white heeled saddle shoes marry the classic two-tone look of this beloved vintage style of footwear with a very wearable 2.5 inch heel that instantly lends a 1930s, 40s and 50s worthy swing dance vibe to this appealing pair of shoes.

I love how the inclusion of a heel instantly turns these leather saddle shoes (which are available for from, in ladies sizes 6 to 10, for $69.00) into something a bit dressier than than their (essentially) flat heeled counterparts. I could easily picture wearing these dressy saddle shoes with anything from a feminine black pencil skirt to a pair of high waisted trousers, all year long.

Though, as some of you may recall from past Chronically Vintage posts, I have uneven sized, thick (from top to bottom) feet that make buying shoes online impossible (as I really need to try them on in person first), I would love to come across these precise heels offline and (if they fit) would buy them faster than you can say malt shop!