Monthly Archives: July 2012

Too Many Tomatoes


With all the heat this summer, I have had a bumper crop of tomatoes.

Even though I give some away, I still have plenty to feed us. We have had BLT’s, grilled feta and tomato sandwiches, tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and fresh parsley, on top of  homemade pizza and chopped or sliced in every imaginable casserole and salad. This year I grew Sun Sugar and Chocolate Cherry, Patio and Celebrity. I grew them all in big pots on the patio, along with leeks, cilantro, parsley, basil and bell peppers.

I have been handed down a recipe for Chili Sauce from my Maternal Great-Great Grandmother. I am 50, my Mom is 83 and this was HER Great Grandma. This recipe goes pretty far back. I am guessing late 1800’s. I love the simplicity of it; no exact measurements really,  just estimations 🙂

That doesn’t matter though, you really cannot mess up this recipe. The end result fills the house with a heavenly aroma thanks to the spices.

Here is the recipe, as handed down:

24 tomatoes, chopped

7 onions, chopped

2 green peppers, chopped

2 cups sugar

1 cup vinegar

1 tsp. each salt, cinnamon, allspice and cloves

Cook covered for one hour. Uncover and cook for 3 hours.

Pretty simple. With a few exceptions. What size tomatoes and onions? Does she mean bell peppers?

I have always used an assortment of large (Celebrity or Big Boy) and smaller (Roma or Patio) tomatoes. You can even throw in a handful of cherry type.

I assume she means yellow or white onions which are smaller. I don’t think big sweet Vidalias  were probably available back then.

I am certain she meant green “Bell” peppers. I don’t think they cooked with jalapeno or other hot peppers back in the day. And I don’t think they let green Bell peppers ripen to yellow, orange and red to make sure they had more antioxidants 🙂

I follow the recipe just as written. This time I made 1/2 batch.

I washed the tomatoes and peppers, chopped them along with the onions and put them all in a big pot with the remaining ingredients.

Do not worry if the pot is full; it really cooks down:

Maybe you are saying, “Well what do you do with Chili Sauce?”. Today I am adding some to homemade baked beans to take to a cookout tonight.

It is also wonderful on top of meatloaf, burgers, hot dogs or scrambled eggs. You can use it in place of any recipe that calls for jarred chili sauce.

Just spoon it into clean containers, cover and use in a few days. Or  freeze it for later use.

I had some cherry tomatoes left over so I roasted them with olive oil, fresh garlic, salt and pepper.

I will add these to pasta later this week for a simple meal without much fuss. Just add some Parmesan and olives and serve with a salad and crusty bread.

Hope you are all enjoying natures bounty this summer 🙂

The Long Hot Summer


No room showcase. No DIY tips. No bragging about my bargains this week.

My creative side has taken a vacation. With all this heat I can barely remember how to make dinner. It’s a good thing Hubby likes tomatoes. They are the only thing flourishing in this desert we call the Midwest.

So I just snapped some random shots of life here on Croydon  Place. We are slowly changing things. Creeping along actually.

This framed paint-by-number was a garage sale find for $1.  I love the shape of the frame. It needed a good cleaning and has moved around the house and finally landed here in the entry. The period light fixture was an Ebay find. I have 3 more that match it. They are lighting up the end of the hall, the guest room and office.

This big glass block window is in my hall bath. I love the little window that opens in the center. It has a deep marble ledge that is fun to decorate. Wait till you see what I do here for Christmas!

There are also 2 identical windows in the garage. Oh, and this vintage bird bath was left here 🙂

I finally decided on the basement curtains. The Star Burst won out.

Here is the newest addition to my cookbook addiction, picked up last week at the thrift store. I have decided that I need ALL of the Betty Crocker spiral cookbooks from the 60’s. I have 6 so far.

This is our 13-year-old Lab “Woody” trying to keep cool:

He is a sweet old gentleman 🙂

This recently left our garage for a new home:

(Hubby and Son #2 are gear heads.)

It has been replaced by this:

The garage seems to be ever evolving into a sort of work room/mechanic shop/man cave so I will post photos when it a little more finished.

Here is a cozy spot for early morning coffee:

I promise to be a little more productive in the coming weeks; hopefully it will cool off.

I have been dreaming of a good snowstorm, so I have kept busy inside organizing my vintage Christmas stash,  getting ready to craft and list holiday items on Ebay and Etsy. I have boxes and boxes (and more boxes) of mid-century “Kitschmas” that I have been picked up all year on my thrifting trips.

I guess that is where the term “Christmas in July” comes from 🙂

The Office (not the TV series)


My office/crafts/sewing/gift wrapping room was probably built to be a nursery. Believe me, nothing else would fit in here but a crib and dresser. It measures roughly 8 by 9 feet.

We painted the walls and ceiling “Pinky Beige” from the Sherwin Williams Suburban Modern Collection. I LOVE mid-century Paris decor so this is where I have most of it. My accent colors are bright pink and aqua with some black thrown in.

This memento holder is from IKEA.  I change it out with the seasons or when I take the notion. For Christmas I will hang vintage cards and other “Kitschmas” paper items. The wall hanging above it is a photo of Paris at night. That was a gift from my youngest son. Those Kentley wooden trays are dated 1952 and show scenes of the French Poodles Fifi and Pepe  romancing in Paris. They were originally a set of 4; I am searching for the other 2.

This vintage buffet holds paperwork, receipts and other office supplies. The aqua radio and other trinkets were garage sale finds. The Eiffel Tower lamp is from Target. The vintage fiberglass shade was picked up for $1.

This is the computer hutch. Beside it is a steel nightstand painted to look like blond wood 🙂 That long filmstrip of photos were taken in France last year when we visited  our oldest son. The hat and wig boxes were consignment store finds.

This amazing aqua fiberglass shell chair was $1 at an estate sale!  The framed early 60’s album was 25 cents at a book store in Louisville.

These fiberglass pinch pleat drapes were a thrift store find for $7. They are the perfect colors. The black metal stand and aqua suitcase were garage sale finds. One the bottom shelf are 2 great books I picked up:

Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book from 1956.  The cover is aqua 🙂

The other is Your Dream Home and How to Build it for Less from 1950.

This late 50’s framed Pan Am Airlines/Paris magazine ad was a Christmas gift from Hubby. The little metal shelves below hold some of my vintage poodles.

Inside this good sized closet is my hoard of sewing, crafting and gift wrapping supplies, my sewing machine, my vintage fabric stash, photos, old magazines and books,  and all manner of mid-century inspiration.

The original sliding closet doors and trim were replaced at some point with these painted modern ones. We hope to find unpainted period ones.

Yes it is small room. But we are empty nesters; who needs big bedrooms anymore. Besides it has everything a girl could want, with all the mess behind the closet doors. It is the one room I have kept somewhat feminine.

It is where I am sitting right now 🙂