Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More Midwest Musings...

Sorry for the focus on my little trip to Iowa. No more trips planned anytime soon, so I guess you gotta take what you can get. Some people go to South Africa on vacation, some people go to the Heartland.

One thing I gotta point out is that Midwest thrift stores R-O-C-K!! I mean, I get it now, what it's like to go thrifting and be overwhelmed by all there is available that is vintage or just plain cool. We walk into a Goodwill, and BT says - this is just like any other thrift store. Right as he says that, I pick up the little guy on the right for our tiki collection (for 50 cents)

You were saying? The one on the left I have considered buying off Ebay, but you wouldn't find it there for only 50 cents! I'll have to be on the look out for the corresponding "Maw" mug, which somebody probably snagged, as it was Mother's Day weekend. Every wall of the store was filled with bric-a-brac (versus the one small section at most of our local thrift stores). It wasn't
necessarily stuff I wanted for me, or even an Ebay paradise. It would be, however, just the right type of stuff to stock a consignment booth at a local "antique" store (We noticed most antique stores in my family's town still focus on primitive antiques, where our local antique stores mainly deal in mid-century items). The prices were much better, too. One last find - a little embroidery kit

Now, I'm not the most religious girl on the block, but since she's Prayin' (kind of like Chillin' or Hangin'), I liked it.

Another observation about the Midwest is the food - It's interesting to note the differences in California versus Midwest cuisine. There, a lot of stuff is fried, buffets are more prevalent, and a "side salad" usually means macaroni or potato salad - rarely lettuce. But man, are the baked goods awesome! We had doughnuts that would be the next big thing if we opened a shop in West L.A. or someplace trendy (so much better than the standard fare offered around here - and they were square!) And my Grandma's Sour Cream Cookies - totally delectable. Now, I'm not the type to go around blabbing family secrets, so I can't give you the recipe, but I will share a tip from Grandma. Before baking a whole batch of cookies, bake just one

If your solo cookie is too flat, add flour to the dough. If it is too stiff, add a little milk. Brilliant! It's not really a waste of time, because it's not like you sit there staring at the oven anyway. There's dishes to wash, or laundry to fold - and 10 minutes isn't too much to sacrifice for the perfect cookie.

This one looked ok...but something was wrong after all. They were really airy, but also (somehow, strangely) moist and cakey, as evidenced by this pic of the iced cookies

They didn't even make it through the photo shoot and they were cracking in half. And why was my icing yellow instead of white? Guess I'll have to consult Grandma again and figure out where I went wrong...

Speaking of recipes, there was one more project that developed from the trip. My cousin, Jody, just bought her first house! She's in her early twenties, and owns her own home. You could say BT are green with envy, but it just highlights yet another difference between the West coast and the Midwest - housing is actually affordable there still!

A lot of work is being done to the house, which was built in the late 1800s. My uncles are tearing down old plaster/drywall to make way for some modern touches. Here is some of the carnage

This is a pile of old wallpaper I brought home in my suitcase (I'm sure the TSA folks have seen it all, but I wonder if I've been added to the list of nutter butters who's suitcase they looked through that was filled essentially with trash). I altered one of those cheapy recipe books from the Target dollar spot to make this for my cousin

I also found a cute towel set at Target that matches perfectly

All in all this should be a nice little housewarming gift. Guess what the first recipe is? Well, Grandma's cookies, of course!

**Jessica! You found it! Here is the fabric fix I was seeking yesterday (Yellow Ditsy Dot) Thank you so much! Isn't the crafty blog community something?**


telfair said...

You know, the thing is, I probably would have rather been in the Midwest.


Particularly if those cookies were anywhere near...they looked perfect to this Sour Cream Cookie expert (who consumed bulk quantities of them from her own mother's kitchen as a young'un.)

Hanna said...

beautiful recepie book! love old papers too!

chanadaal said...

Wow - that's a great recipe book! My plain blue binder looks so sad now by comparison. And re: the carrying home of old wallpaper in a suitcase - it's heartening to know there are people out there as crazy as me! I couldn't have watched it simply be destroyed either :-)

Megan said...

What a fantastic idea for a housewarming gift! Carrying a suitcase full of torn old wallpaper might be considered slightly odd by some but I wouldn't be one of them. Not after seeing that recipe book cover anyways.

Alicia P. said...

Oh, the cookbook etc. is awesome! Great idea!