Sunday, February 26, 2017

Coffee and Spice Cookie

Retro Recipes

Frosted Coffee and Spice Cookies

I usually make some sort of dessert on the weekends and this weekend my husband wanted cookies, but not just any cookies, he wanted something new. I let him look through my 1950's Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book and he chose Coffee and Spice drop cookies.

I've never considered putting coffee and spice together, but the recipe seemed easy enough so I figured I'd give it a go!



  • 1 cup soft shortening (or margarine)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold coffee
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt (omit if using margarine) 
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbs milk
  • cinnamon for sprinkling 

Mix together thoroughly the shortening or margarine, brown sugar and eggs. 

Stir in the coffee.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt if you used shortening, remember to leave out the salt if you used margarine!

Mix it all together until just combined (don't over mix!) Place it in the fridge to chill for at least an hour. 

Preheat your oven to 400F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

These claim to be drop cookies but they didn't seem to work that way. Instead, I rolled 1 Tbs sized balls and flattened them slightly on the prepared cookie sheets. They're going to puff up!

Bake 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. 

While they're cooling you can prepare the frosting. Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add the vanilla and the milk and beat until it comes together. I made my frosting quite thick, using very little milk. If you'd like a thinner glaze just add tiny amounts of milk at a time until you get the desired consistency. 

Once the cookies are cooled, spread the frosting on thick, sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Retro Valentine's Day Cake

Retro Coconut and Cherry Valentine Cake

It seems Valentine's Day gets a bit of a bad rap nowadays, no one wants to spend money on unnecessary gifts that will be forgotten, or flowers that will die, just to show someone you care. I get that, after all, shouldn't we be showing our affection on a daily basis? Of course we should. 

That doesn't mean we can't use this day as an excuse to bake an amazing cake.

Because what says "I love you" better than a big heart-shaped cake covered in pink coconut? 

Nothing, that's what. 


    2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour                                 1/4 cup marschino cherry syrup
    1 1/3 cups sugar                                                 16 maraschine cherries, cut in eighths
    3 tsp baking soda                                               1/2 cup milk
   1/2 cup margarine                                              4 egg whites
   1/2 cup chopped walnuts                                    1 packaged shredded coconut


Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature before you begin!

Heat your oven to 350F. Prepare two heart shaped pans, or two 9" inch rounds, by lining them with parchment paper. There's no need to grease the pans. 

Sift flour, sugar and baking powder together in a large bowl. 

Add margarine, cherry syrup, cherries and to the flour and blend by hand, then beat for 2 minutes.

Add the egg whites and beat for another 2 minutes.

Fold in the nuts. Divide batter into two prepared pans. 

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.

Once cooled, run a knife around the edge of the cakes and flip them out onto a cake platter. Peel off the parchment paper. 

Once completely cooled, frost between layers and sides of  cake with white frosting. 

Frosting Ingredients

             3/4 cup softened butter                                       4 cups confectioners sugar
             3 Tbs milk or cream                                            1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat all ingredients together until thick and creamy. Coat entire cake. 

To tint coconut pink: Place shredded coconut in a jar, add a few drops of red food coloring, cover and shake well until it's a uniform color. 

Place wax or parchment paper around the outside of the cake. Decorate sides and top of cake with pink coconut, catching the excess with the paper. 

Remove the paper and use a heart shaped cookie cutter to fashion the coconut heart on the top of the cake.

A perfect Mid Century cake for Valentine's Day, or any day!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Retro Valentine's Day Cards

Retro Crafting

Valentine Cards

One of my favorite grade school activities was crafting Valentine cards for my classmates, friends, and family. To be fair, I wasn't overly fond of school and any excuse to spend a day with scissors and construction paper was fine by me, but there was always something special about Valentine crafts. There's something about poorly-fashioned paper hearts covered in glitter and doilies that says "I care" better than any store bought gift. 

Receiving a Valentine isn't something that happens much anymore in this day and age, could you imagine your surprise if you found a big red paper heart in your mailbox? I know people should show each other they care daily, we shouldn't need a specific day, but the truth is we lead busy, hectic lives and it's very easy to forget to show our appreciation for each other. 

So this year, instead of rushing to the store to buy something cheap and impersonal, why not sit down and craft something from the heart for that special someone in your life?

I could write a step-by step tutorial on how to do that, but that wouldn't be very personal, right? So instead here are some tips and suggestions.


You can use anything your little heart desires, but here are a few suggestions:

  • red and pink paper
  • glitter
  • glue 
  • paper doilies
  • retro card printouts
  • candy hearts
  • dried flowers
  • paint and markers
  • ribbons

Be creative! Cut out hearts, pictures from magazines, card printouts, and glue them all together. Cover them in glitter, flowers, doilies, ribbon, and sweet sayings. 

Make them as big or as small, as simple or extravagant, as personal or platonic as you'd like. 

If you have kids, cut out a bunch of different sized hearts and allow them to put them together how they'd like. 

Giving Them Out

Valentines can be handed directly to the recipients or hidden somewhere they'll find them. Mailing one to a friend you don't see very often is a great way to show them you're thinking about them,    

Monday, February 6, 2017

Home Remedies for Colds and Flu

Fighting Winter Illness the Natural Way

If your life is anything like mine right now, you or someone you know is sick and you're probably tired of running back and forth to the store to restock your medicine cabinet. Unfortunately I don't have any miracle cures for you, but our Mid Century ancestors held firm to the reliability of these home remedies. 

DISCLAIMER: This is not medical advice. Do not give any alcoholic beverages to children or mix alcohol with medications you may be taking. 

1. Hot Toddy
The Hot Toddy can be traced way back to Britain (where it was consumed cold) and Scotland (where it was consumed hot) and has long been believed to prevent and cure colds and flu. A concoction of hot water or tea, lemon (for vitamin C) honey (to soothe) whiskey (to numb) and sometimes with a stick of cinnamon or a few cloves, was certainly a tasty treat on a cold night, but does it actually work? 

According to the medical community, hot alcoholic beverages can help to relieve the symptoms of colds and flu by relaxing the body, widening blood vessels and clearing nasal passageways. All these can help the body to heal quicker, but the drink itself is not a cure and will not prevent illness. 


Add to a mug of hot water or tea: 
1 tsp of honey
1 1/2 oz whiskey
1/2 oz lemon juice (or more to taste)

Cinnamon stick

2. Just Plain Liquor

According to the "Medical Men" of the 1950's, "pure and wholesome" whiskey was the only way to fight the dangers that come with getting the flu. 

While liquor will relax you and widen your blood vessels, like with the toddy, it's probably not a good idea to lie in bed and get hammered while you're ill.... Right?

3. Chicken Soup
OK, we've all heard this one, right? As a child, within seconds of a single sniffle, my mother would be pouring gallons of salty noodle water down my throat.

I can't say with any certainty if I felt any better afterwards, or if I just fell into a soup coma, but according to Dr. Stephen Rennard, it's the real deal. Just like a Hot Toddy, the steam from soup can help clear congestion. Unlike a Hot Toddy, chicken soup also has anti-inflammatory properties, they're just not sure why.

If you're currently lying in a bed of misery without mom or grandma around to whip up their famous homemade soup, you might be happy to know that canned soup works just as well, if not better, than homemade. How convenient is that?

4. Garlic

My grandmother swore by garlic, in fact, she would eat entire bulbs of it raw like a normal person would eat an apple.

Turns out grandma isn't always wrong, and neither are old wive's tales, because garlic is a natural anti-viral and anti-bacterial.

Eating the garlic raw is key (right again, Nana) but if you find chewing on a garlic clove to be a bit much, try chopping it up and eating it in a spoonful of honey, or spread on a piece of toast.

If you still can't handle it most health food stores sell garlic in capsules!

Does your family have a traditional home remedy? Have you tried any that have worked for you? 
Let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Winter Home Maintenance

Winter Home Maintenance

(Or How to Keep From Losing Your Mind)

It may seem like winter has been here forever, and if you're anything like me you're pretty over it by now. Unfortunately we still have a few more months of cold and dreary Pacific Northwest weather to look forward to, so how do you keep from going stir crazy during the long wait for spring? While major home repairs are generally saved for the warmer months, your time indoors can be spent doing simple home maintenance to ensure your home is in tip-top shape for the year! Follow this simple list and before you know it spring will be here and your home will feel like new!

1. Deep Clean

Everyone has heard of "spring cleaning" but honestly, that's never made much sense to me. Why would you wait until the weather is finally nice, just to stay indoors and clean? Why not do it in the winter when most of us don't want to be outside anyways? Consider doing some (or all!) of the following:
  • De-clutter. Get rid of anything you don't use, donate what you can!
  • Scrub your grout
  • Clean out and organize your fridge and pantry
  • Wipe down walls and baseboards 
  • Throw out expired cosmetics, lotions, and other toiletries 
  • Shred old documents 
  • Wash drapes and dust blinds
2. Make Minor Repairs

  • Tighten loose knobs and towel racks
  • Clean or replace air filters
  • Re-seal windows
  • Re-caulk tubs and sinks
  • Have appliances maintained if needed
  • Fix leaky faucets
3. Go All Out

If you're a "go big or go home" type of person, these activites may suit your fancy:
  • Redecorate a room or give it a new coat of paint
  • Tackle an un-finished attic or basement and  make it usable space
  • Make a lifestyle change your family agrees on, like eating meals at a table rather than in front of a television
4. Plan For a Spring Garden

  • Map out where you'd like to put some garden beds or planters
  • Look through seed catalogs or order seeds online
  • Start some seedlings indoors
  • Plan an indoor herb garden for your kitchen
  • Search Pinterest for easy garden crafts 
  • Start a garden journal
I hope that list will keep you busy for the remainder of the season! What kind of things do you guys do to beat the winter blues? Let me know in the comments below!!