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From My Mama

I love my mom. I love my mom more the older I get…She is really just the best when it comes to advice-according to  my husband, all of our major purchases must be mom-approved first. Which is why we don’t have a dog…I plan to tap that advice even more so when the spring comes and I need help planting whatever kind of garden I can.

But right now I want to bring you back to Christmas. I knew what my big gift was from her because she had asked what color I wanted. But when I got down to her house on Christmas morning she told me she had another one for me. And she was (and is) proud of it.

IMG_20130110_115921A refrigerator dish matching the Friendship Pattern. She happily reported that she only paid 12 dollars for it! A good one, mama! The dish has no chips or fading at all and has already been put to use when frying up some drumsticks.

Now…My big gift. Its blue.

IMG_20130104_162109A Kitchen Aid! That matches my kitchen! I can’t begin to tell you how much I looooove this little lady. Of course its a lady, come on.  When I took this picture it was in the process of turning heavy cream into butter-a common practice in the house now. However I have also used it to make: bread, cake, pizza dough, whipped cream (made by Joe), and more…Later I plan to make some more Fluff. It is one of Joe’s favorite things to have for lunch (sorry to southerns who have no idea what I am talking about) and we’ve run out. We are on a mission to make as much at home as possible and spend less at stores. Its amazing what we can do with just raw materials!

IMG_20121230_145554Here are two loaves of egg bread I did…Ah so yummy! Half of one became a breakfast casserole.





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Something Odd

First of all, merry belated Christmas! Second of all…Pyrex explodes. No no, don’t worry none of mine have recently gone to the great antique store in the sky. But I saw this morning (after a frantic call from my husband to turn on the Today show) that an independent research firm is coming out against glassware companies, saying that they are dangerous and that the amount of broken glass in food is on the rise.

This company did a study where in they took a Pyrex dish (new, not an older dish) and heated it to 500 degrees than dropped it on cold sand. Can anyone guess what happened? Yes, it shattered! Good job…What annoyed me most about this was that glass dishes are not suppose to be cooked at 500 or over and anyone who knows how to handle glassware knows this. A woman they interviewed said something to the effect of, “I took it from the oven and placed it on the counter and it shattered!” …Lady, did ya happen to have water on that counter?

Pyrex released a statement also saying that they have, “made Pyrex the same for generations without issue.” Again, this annoyed me because Pyrex has changed their formula before. We don’t have arsenic in our glassware anymore, guys. Any old, clear glass made by Pyrex has  a yellow tint has arsenic in it.

People, use some common sense when using your glass cookware. Don’t over heat it and don’t put it on anything wet and cold. Or sand. And do not blame the company. Now if its on a shelf and combusted…then you probably bought Anchor.

I tried to find a link to the study but have come up short so far.


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Meeting the Queen….

Last week I had an afternoon with the Queen. I mentioned her once before when we met her a few months ago at Brimfield but who would have thought we would cross paths again? It all happened because we saw an ad on Craigslist for a large collection of Pyrex in Worcester and to email or call to request a viewing. So I sent her a text message and asked what sort of things she had-not knowing of course who she was wat that time. She gave me a call and started to run down the list of everything she had…after a long list which I can’t call to total memory she said the words “double boiler.” I jumped. “How much?” She took a breath, “Well, I’ve got 50 on it but I would do 20.” Without even really thinking I asked her to hold one for us and that we would be by the next day. She agreed and we hung up.
As we drove around the city Joe said, “Didn’t the women we met a few months back live in Worcester? what if its her?” I figured we had just about a 50/50 chance and as we got out of the car we saw her business card sitting in the wet street.
When we got upstairs she did not disappoint. She had a whole room of Pyrex…most of it in boxes. After chatting for a while and getting a brief history of Pyrex we started to pick through what she had. We brought 40 just in case there were other things we wanted…

The double boiler. Spent 20 dollars. According to most places they run anywhere from 50-80 dollars.

Separated serving dish. Spent 5. Roughly goes for about 12. I told her how we host Thanksgiving now and she told me how she use to call this dish the Thanksgiving Dish because the next day it was perfect for popping left overs in the oven!
Then…some..well, unbearably adorable pieces.

Lets start from the right. Two creamers for 5 dollars…not sure how much they really go for on their own right now. Then the little plastic Corning toys. I love these soooooo much. She got our last 10 for these (mostly because she wasn’t able to break the 20s we had). I love them so much. I can’t really contain how much I love them. You may be thinking “thats all 40, so where did the thermometer come from?” Well…we got to talking about owning our first gas stove and she handed us a Pyrex-yes Pyrex-oven thermometer!! For free!

For those interested, her non-shop  is called “Oh My Mother Had That!” She is really  a wonderful woman to meet and talk to and she will  sell you some quality stuff!


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Mozzarella, if you please…

You probably guess what we spent the afternoon doing the other day. When Joe and I got married I don’t think he had ever had real fresh mozzarella-only shredded bagged stuff. Nothing against the shredded stuff really because what else would we on pizza? But for something like a big hearty baked pasta needs a little extra special cheese. For Christmas this past year my mom got Joe his own make-your-own-mozzarella kit and we finally got around to doing it!
Frist we went to Coopers Farm Store in Leicester, Ma and bought a gallon of whole milk-NOT ULTRA PASTEURIZED. The store is a diary based right on the farm the milk comes from (we bought a quart of chocolate milk and I have to say…TruMoon will never be good enough again) Then Joe picked out his favorite Pyrex dishes to use…since this was his project, I didn’t impose which bowls he should use.

Start by preparing the rennet (enzyme) solution by dissolving 1/4 table of the rennet in 1/4 cup of cold water. Set aside

Pour the whole gallon of milk into a large stock pot. Heat over medium high heat/flame until the milk reaches 85 degrees then add the provided citric acid. Please keep in mind that these are the steps as given by the kit! I would have no idea how to do this from total scratch. That aside, when the milk reaches 100 degrees stir in the rennet solution. Use a slotted spoon to gently stir the milk in an up and down motion for 30 seconds.
Heat the milk to a little more to 105 then turn off the heat. You will start to notice signs of curds forming-these will be the white and shiny bits floating in the liquid. The liquid is now whey.

To test if the curds are ready to be strained-scoop out some of the curds and press the back of a spoon into them. If a dent is left, they’re ready. If not, give them another 2 minutes.
When they are ready you will want to set a colander inside of a microwave safe bowl then using a strainer or slotted spoon gently lift the curds and allow they whey to drip into the pot. Place the curds gently into the colander…I keep saying gently because they instructions do. The curds are sensitive little buggers..
Using your hands (again) gently press the curds to extract any extra whey.

They will look something like this once you’ve got them drained. Next, place your bowl in a microwave for one minute. Put on the gloves that came with the kit or your own special gloves if you’ve got them. When you remove the bowl from the microwave there will be more whey that has come loose from the curds-drain this. You can now begin to fold (gently) and knead the curds and as more whey is released just keep draining it.

Microwave for 30 seconds as needed to keep the curds folding properly. You will know you are nearing “done” by the shine and smoothness of your cheese.

Something like this! Now, remember this: to stretch the cheese must be at 135 degrees. If you have a smooth cheese but want to shape it into a ball there is no harm in popping it in the microwave for another 30 seconds.

So there you all have it! Joe made cheese! You can go ahead and think it…we have weird hobbies. But many people do you know who make their on cheese? Mom don’t answer…you’ve got enough farmer blogger friends who probably do it without a kit!


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What I’ve been doing…

The last few weeks-and the weeks to come-have been insane. As I believe I mentioned before we were trying to buy a house…it didn’t work out. So my first thought was to make our little townhouse more of a “home,” rather than just a place to put Pyrex and Moxie stuff. We started this buy finding a small bookcase at SAVERS that Joe said, “Lets make this a Cookbook Case,” and so we did…After three days of sanding and a day and half of painting we came up with this…

Lovely, isn’t she? We are friends…That little deal on the side is an old tennis racket that we found and turned into a bill-holder!

It was followed by a new end table that we found at Salvation Army for 10 dollars. It was ivory, gold and had a Minnie Mouse sticker on it.

I don’t want to spoil too much of what else we’ve gotten done…but there is a lot. I just wanted you all to know that we’ve been keeping busy! Also, we did make it to the July Brimfield and found some amazing scores.

As soon as I can find my kitchen under all the mess I will get some good pictures and do a little write up for you!


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It Was A Day…

Do you ever have a day that is just…a day? And by a day, I mean horrible no good rotten day. What makes it worse is that it started out so well.

We found a desk on Craigslist that seemed perfect to alter slightly and use as an entertainment center. Currently, we’re using half of an old computer desk that just doesn’t match the direction the style of our house is going. I promise this post has Pyrex in it, by the way. Joe started out towards Frammingham around noon and by 1 he was calling me with the classic “good news, bad news,” deal.

Good news: The desk fit in our car!

Bad news: he backed over the curb of the owners driveway and punctured our tire. After two cans of Fix-A-Flat (that did not fix our flat) and about 5 dollars worth of quarters in air he made it home and we hauled the desk out of the car and on to the porch. After so much chaos I wanted something comfortable…warm…and filled with cheese and pasta.

I made up a good old baked pasta in my Spirograph dish. Oh..and those lumpy things in the back? Left over pizza dough I made into sad looking “bread sticks” ….they weren’t very good. But the pasta hit the spot for sure. My mom asked me, “Are you crazy? Baked pasta in this heat?” I think its silly she asked me this seeing as she looooooves to reference the time I requested baked ziti on my birthday. Which is in June.

Thursday is  Brimfield and since mom, niece and brother won’t be coming this time we’re planning to leave at 6 or 6:30 am. This will be our shortest trip ever to the flea…we’re going to see one block of stalls-the one with Joe’s Moxie guy. But don’t worry that set of stalls usually have some good Pyrex deals.

We’ll see…to be honest…I’m a little tired of spending money. So unless something like a second Ponderosa cup (for Kim) comes up for a dollar I probably will refrain from buying anything.





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A Moment of Silence, Please….

The fourth of July brought many joys-friends, family, food and a favorite film. But the day was not without a dark mark…

My beloved Balloon Cinderella bowl has gone to the great Pyrex-beyond. She slipped through Joe’s fingers as he was making French Fries…

I meant to take a picture of the mess but it was too sad to deal with. Every story I’ve heard about “the way Pyrex breaks,” came true. It is a mess to end all messes and the shards are tiny. Needless to say, the kitchen became a NO TODDLER zone.

Rest in Peace, good friend…what pattern am I going to use to make pizza dough now?


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