Is it time to toss out some of your spices?

Here's an interesting bit of information from McCormick's Facebook page.

Spices

Apparently, with the exception of black pepper, McCormick stopped packaging its spices in tins more than 25 years ago. And it is true that spices lose flavor and aroma over time; fresher is better.

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One more tip, this time from What's Cooking America. The site says that McCormick spices in bottles printed with, "Baltimore, Maryland," on the label are at least 15 years old. So if you have any of those, you might want to think about tossing them.

If throwing away containers of spices seems wasteful, look at it this way: you were already wasting space if you've had spices for so long without using them. And you can repurpose those tins as planters for little succulents.

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More on tins as planters at Apartment Therapy.

 


This week's chocolate obsession continues

This 1984 ad has got you covered with two chocolate cake recipes: one is made from scratch, the other is made with a mix.

Don't be too weirded out by the idea of adding mayonnaise to your cake batter. Mayonnaise is made of egg yolks, oil and lemon juice or vinegar, so it's really not such an odd ingredient for cake.

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Ultimate Chocolate Cake from scratch

2 cups unsifted flour
2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 2/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
1 1/3 cups water

Grease and flour bottoms of 2 (9") layer cake pans. Mix first 4 ingredients; set aside. In large bowl with mixer at high speed beat next 3 ingredients 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. At low speed, beat in mayonnaise. Add flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with water, beginning and ending with flour. Pour into pans. Bake in 350˚F oven 30 to 35 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove, cool on racks. Frost.

 
Ultimate Chocolate Cake from a mix

1 pkg. (18 1/2 oz.) chocolate cake mix, with pudding in the mix
1/2 cup Hershey's cocoa
3 eggs
1 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
1 1/3 cups water

Grease and flour bottoms of 2 (9") layer cake pans. In large bowl with mixer at low speed beat together cake mix and cocoa. Add remaining ingredients; beat just until blended. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into pans. Bake in 350˚F oven 30 to 35 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove, cool on racks. Frost.

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 Here's a vintage tin of Hershey's cocoa, ca. early 1900s

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 Image via 52 Flea


Easy chocolate pie recipe

Not only is this recipe easy, it could be made with ingredients many of us have on hand — baking chocolate, a can of sweetened condensed milk and a frozen pie shell.

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Chocolate Pie
Old recipe from 1930s Eagle Brand advertising

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 1/3 cups (1 can) Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cup water
Baked 8-inch pie shell (bet this would be great made with a graham cracker crumb crust, too)

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Add sweetened condensed milk, stirring over boiling water for 5 minutes until mixture thickens. Add water, stir until thoroughly blended. Pour into baked pie shell. Chill. Garnish with whipped cream if desired.

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 What is it about men and pie? My husband doesn't eat desserts, but he'd sell his soul for a good piece of pie.

Recipe via livejournal
Image via Roger Wilkerson 


Chocolate Mousse Cake

Love Ladyfingers — Brits call them sponge fingers.

Did you know they have only about 25 calories each? Really. Google it, if you don't believe me.

You can find Ladyfingers in the bakery section of your supermarket.

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Chocolate Mousse Cake
Old recipe from 1967 British Carnation advertising

1 2/3 cups (14 1/2 oz. can) undiluted Carnation Evaporated Milk
1 cup water
3 level tbsp. corn starch
3 level tbsp. sugar
2 level tbsp. gelatin
2 level tsp. instant coffee
1/4 lb. block dark unsweetened baking chocolate
24 or 30 single Ladyfingers

Line the bottom and sides of an 8" x 4" x 3" loaf pan with wax paper, letting the paper extend beyond the rim. Line the sides with Ladyfingers, and the bottom of the pan as well if desired. Break chocolate into squares. Place cornstarch and sugar in a saucepan, add coffee, gelatin and 1 cup evaporated milk diluted with 1 cup water. Blend and stir over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat, add Chocolate and stir until smooth. Cool until partially set. Whip remaining well-chilled evaporated milk until stiff. Fold it into the chocolate mixture. Into the loaf pan alternately add two layers each of the chocolate mixture and Ladyfingers. Chill 2 to 3 hours. Lift from the pan and remove paper. Decorate with whipped cream and toasted almonds. Serves 6.

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Let's see, what could you do while waiting for your Chocolate Mousse Cake to chill?

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Recipe via Roundabout63
Image via suz1212


Easy French Cassoulet

I don't think the French make cassoulet with canned pork and beans. Just a guess.

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French Cassoulet
Recipe from 1958 Heinz advertising

Partially fry 4 strips bacon; take from skillet. Brown 1 large onion, chopped; 2 cloves garlic, minced; 1 tbsp. chopped parsley in bacon fat. Add 1 cup white wine (or 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup lemon juice) and 1/4 cup Heinz ketchup. Simmer 5 min. Mix with 1 cup diced cooked meat and two 1-lb. cans of Heinz pork and beans in 1 1/2 quart casserole. Top with bacon. Bake at 350˚F for 45 min. Makes 6 servings.

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Ten years after the above French Cassoulet recipe premiered, we were all watching French actor Robert Clary play Cpl. Louis LeBeau on Hogan's Heroes.

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Recipe via File Photo Digital Archive


Holiday Baking: Tomato Soup Fruitcake

For some Americans, the tomato soup fruitcake is a holiday classic.

For the rest of us, it's a head-scratching oddity.  

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Tomato Soup Fruitcake
Old recipe from 1962 Campbell's advertising

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. each: ground cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 cup shortening
1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup
2 eggs
1 cup chopped candied fruit, or raisins, or prepared mincemeat
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan. In large bowl, sift dry ingredients together. Add shortening and 1/2 can soup. Beat until smooth. Add remaining soup and eggs. Beat again until smooth. Fold in fruit and nuts. Pour into pan. Bake about 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove.

Frosting

Soften 3-oz. package cream cheese with 1 tbsp. milk; gradually blend in 2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

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 Seems to me, fruitcake should be served on old-fashioned china.

Like this Christmas plate from Johnson Brothers:

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Or this pattern from Spode:

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Or this classic from Lenox:

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Retro Holiday Baking: Jell-O Spritz Cookies

Jell-O in cookies. Who knew?

Use this recipe to make spritz cookies — that is, cookies you form with a cookie press — or just drop the dough by spoonfuls for soft pillow-like cookies. 

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Fruity Cookies
Old recipe from vintage Jell-O advertising

4 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 3-oz. pkg. of Jell-O gelatin, any flavor
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

Sift flour and baking powder. Cream butter. Gradually add sugar and gelatin, creaming well after each addition. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing after each addition until smooth.

Press dough through the cookie press onto ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with colored sugar or candy sprinkles if desired. Bake for about 13 to 14 minutes or until golden brown at edges.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

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Thank heavens, my mother never did this to us.

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 Retro Dad totally phoned it in with that tie.

Recipe via Scout901
Image via Awkward Family Photos


Retro Happy Hour: Spicy Holiday Punch

Here's a nifty old recipe for homemade holiday punch. Make it with or without alcohol. 

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Spicy Punch
Old recipe from 1964 Sprite advertising

1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup fresh lemon juice
12 bottles of Sprite (bottles held about 8 oz. back in the day, so "12 bottles" would equal about one and a half 2-liter bottles' worth of Sprite)
food coloring, if desired

Combine all ingredients except Sprite. Add food coloring, if desired. Chill. Add cold Sprite just before serving. Makes 38 4-oz. servings.

If desired, add 1 part blended whiskey to 5 parts punch. Also good with brandy or rum.

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 Nice girls don't hang around the punchbowl making eyes at strange men. Just saying.

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Recipe via SenseiAlan
Image via My Luscious Life


P-Nutty Butterscotch Crunchies

These candies (or are they cookies?) are to die for. And they're super-easy to make.

They travel well, too. So if you're looking for holiday treats to mail, these would be ideal.

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P-Nutty Butterscotch Crunchies
Recipe from a 1961 ad

 1/2 cup peanut butter
1 (6-oz.) package butterscotch morsels (1 cup)
1 (3-oz.) can chow mein noodles (2 cups)
candied cherries

In top of double boiler combine peanut butter and butterscotch morsels. Place over hot (not boiling) water till butterscotch morsels melt. Stir until blended. Add chow mein noodles and stir until well-coated. Drop teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Top with candied cherry. Chill until set.

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 Page from the 1956 Sears Christmas catalog.

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Recipe via Click Americana