Happy Easter!

Yesterday was Easter Sunday, which we celebrate around our house with Easter baskets for the kids from Mom and Dad and chocolate eggs hidden around the house by the Easter bunny.

Thing 1 particularly liked her Star Wars book pillow from Audin Roy Boutique.

Thing 2 really loved her Gudetama pillow, which I picked up at Ottawa Geek Market.

And the two of them spent most of the day eating chocolate eggs and making creations out of their brand new Makedo Cardboard Building System, which is so much fun that I have a set of my own.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend too!

613flea Saturday April 20th

It’s finally time for the Easter weekend edition of 613flea! I’ll be there as usual with my latest and greatest vintage housewares and kitchenware finds.

You can find me in pretty much the same spot as last month, a little bit left of the north door (the far left door on the long side of the building if you’re coming in from Bank Street).

Looking forward to seeing you there!

“New” Vintage Pyrex, Easter Edition

I’m super excited about the Easter edition of 613flea coming up this Saturday because I’ve managed to source some absolutely fabulous “new” vintage Pyrex! It’s all beautiful, and some of it has become quite rare.

1957-1966 Gooseberry Chip & Dip Cinderella Bowls

Pink Pyrex is highly prized because there weren’t all that many patterns released in this popular colour.

1957-1968 Butterprint Casseroles

Butterprint is an extremely popular design, so much so that when Pyrex released their modern “Vintage Charm” line, one of the most common is quite obviously an updated version of this pattern.

1958 Balloons Cinderella Bowl

The Balloons pattern is extremely rare; it was only released for the one year, so there weren’t many of them made. This has made it a highly sought-after collector’s item.

1960-1961 Golden Grapes Chip & Dip Cinderella Bowls

Golden Grapes is unusual because the design was printed on delphite blue rather than the more common opal ware. The gold colour actually comes from real gold, which means that these dishes, like any containing metal, are not microwave safe. (All of the other vintage Pyrex dishes without metal are microwave, oven, fridge, and freezer safe.)

1963-1967 Town and Country Casserole

The Town and Country kitchenware was available as a large mix-and-match series, which is why so many of them survive to this day. They’re not as rare as some of their older counterparts, but they remain colourful and versatile.

1972-1981 Butterfly Gold Mixing Bowls

With Butterfly Gold we start getting into colours and patterns that I remember from my childhood; many people who had children around my age would have received kitchenware in this pattern as a wedding gift.

1978-1983 Woodland Cinderella Bowl

The Woodland pattern is less common than the Butterfly Gold, although they’re from the same era.

As an aside, this was a battle I was constantly fighting while trying to get these photos: my cat really likes my light box. I’m not sure why I was surprised, as it was both warm from the lights and, well, it’s a box. I use a long exposure because the lights aren’t all that powerful, which is usually fine since the dishes don’t move, but it does mean that the cat interrupts with a blur.

1980’s Pyrex Checks & Cherries Bowls

Last but not least, I have these lovely Checks & Cherries bowls, which are probably the most recent items in my collection. I love the vibrant colours! This pattern is also very rare, although more so in the US than in Canada.

I’ve wrapped all of this Pyrex carefully and loaded it into boxes, ready to bring to the flea market on Saturday. I can’t wait! My favourite part of markets is when someone finds that one piece they’ve been looking for for what seems like forever. It’s so satisfying to see peoples’ faces light up with enthusiasm. It really makes my day!

Breakfast of Champions

A couple of weeks ago I went with a carload of friends down to the States to go shopping for cosplay elements that we just can’t get here in Canada. While we were there we stopped at a Walmart, which did mostly carry the same kinds of things as the Canadian version, but there were definitely some differences. I think that the biggest contrast was in the grocery section, and within that the cereals. There were a lot of extremely sugary cereals that we just don’t get here. And it’s not like we don’t have our own junk cereal, or that all of the cereal at this American Walmart was this sweet. But honestly, given how high the sugar content was on some of them, I’m quite sure that many aren’t allowed to be sold north of the border.

Of course that meant I had to try them.

The one that immediately caught my attention on the shelf was the Sour Patch Kids Breakfast Cereal. I liked the candies as much as any kid way back when, but I couldn’t see how it could possibly be any good as a cereal. As you can see from the photos, I couldn’t even wait to get home to try them out and instead shared them in the car. They were… Weird. I mean yes, they did taste like the candy, but then they had the consistency of a Froot Loop. We ate them dry, and even once I got them home I couldn’t see putting them in milk (almond milk in my case). The kids, who were slightly more enthusiastic about them than I was, also refused to put them in milk. Their sourness make it seem like the milk would curdle, and nobody wanted to take a chance on it.

Serving size: 32g (1 cup)
Grams of sugar per serving: 13g

The next cereal I tried was Reese’s Puffs Peanut Butter Bunnies Cereal. Now, you actually can get the non-seasonal version of this cereal in Canada upon occasion, but I had never tried it. It’s another candy they’ve tried to turn into a cereal, with mixed results. I mean, it wasn’t as odd as the Sour Patch Kids and the flavour does go well with milk — just because chocolate and peanut butter go well with milk anyway. But it’s extremely sweet; it tastes much sweeter than the actual chocolate, and apparently one serving of this breakfast treat has more sugar than an actual Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. And once again, it has the approximate consistency of a Froot Loop, which is not what I’m looking for with this flavour combination. Overall, it was better than the first cereal, but only marginally.

Serving Size: 29g (3/4 cup)
Grams of sugar per serving: 9g

(For comparison, one Reese’s Cup has 7g of sugar.)

The last cereal I tried was Cinnamon Toast Crunch Churros. I have to say that I actually liked this one quite a bit, but that’s probably because Apple Cinnamon Cheerios were a big treat for me growing up. The powdery cinnamon sugar coating on the cereal actually worked well because churros are often rolled in cinnamon sugar and end up with a similarly textured coating. In milk, the powder turns quickly to sludge, which to me is not ideal, so it’s much better dry. Overall, it’s nothing in comparison to fresh churros eaten while they’re still hot from the fryer, but the cereal is actually pretty tasty.

Serving Size: 31g (3/4 cup)
Grams of sugar per serving: 8g

As a bonus, I picked up some Limited Edition Frosted Sparkle-Licious Cherry Pop-Tarts for the girls. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like them myself; I used to eat Pop-Tarts when on a sleepover once in a blue moon as a teen, and even then I found them both too sweet and too bland. These “limited edition” ones confirmed that opinion for me. The kids seem to like them, though — but for us they’re dessert, not breakfast. Actually, all of the “breakfast” food I brought home is being eaten as dessert, because none of us want to start the day with such a high dose of sugar. Even the kids! Me, I think I’ll stick with eggs and toast for the most part, and maybe some fruit if I want something sweet.

Serving Size: 52g (1 pastry)
Grams of sugar per serving: 16g

French Toast & Maple Syrup

It’s getting near the end of maple syrup season here in Ontario. The sap didn’t run for very long this year, what with the late thaw and the fact that it’s supposed to get up to nearly twenty degrees Celsius by the end of this week. The rising temperatures mean that it’ll be a warm Easter weekend, but it will definitely cut off the sap flow!

I hadn’t really taken advantage of the season to make any of the traditional dishes like pouding chômeur, since I’ve been too busy for much baking lately. But I wanted to make something seasonal, so I settled on French toast with maple syrup.

I whipped up the bread earlier in the day; it’s simply my bread machine fluffy herb bread without the herbs. This creates a light, airy loaf, which is what I prefer for French toast. I added a little bit of vanilla to the whipped eggs, but I didn’t use cinnamon like I normally would so that the syrup was the ingredient that really shone. And it was delicious!

Chicken Breast Stuffed With Feta & Asparagus on Coconut Rice

The other day there was a fantastic special at the grocery store on marinated chicken breasts stuffed with feta and asparagus. It was a dish fresh from the butcher section and I thought it would make a lovely treat for the family. As a bonus, although this type of meal has a reasonably long cooking time, it’s not cooking that has to be supervised all that much, so it’s good for busy school nights.

I served the chicken on a bed of coconut rice made in the Instant Pot, using the ridiculously easy technique of substituting the water required 1:1 for light coconut milk. This kind of rice is currently the favourite of Thing 1, and it’s a regular request that I find I can easily acquiesce. The whole meal was ready in about 45 minutes, start to finish. I think it’s one that I’d like to make again, even if I do have to take the time to marinade and stuff the chicken breasts myself. I’m thinking that it might be nice to prepare them in bulk and then freeze them for easy meal prep on busier days. I don’t know if the texture of the veggies would suffer, though, so I think I’d have to give it a test run first.

Lobster Tails

I went to the grocery store yesterday to pick up eggs and milk (the two perishable foods we go through the fastest in our household), I popped over to the meat and seafood counters to see if anything tempted me for dinner. As it turned out, they actually had rock lobster tails on for a reasonable price — or at least what I’d consider to be reasonable compared to the ridiculous price that beef has gone up to lately. Lobster in my budget is extremely rare, so I had to pick up enough for dinner.

I followed the instructions from Maine Lobster Now and I was impressed with how quick and easy it was. (Most of the lobster I get these days is the much cheaper frozen claws from T&T to make Carribbean lobster bisque.) The girls were a little intimidated by the shell — they’ve had lobster as often as I could afford to serve it, but I don’t think they’d ever had to deal with cracking their own before. I don’t blame them, since even to me the tail looks a heck of a lot like a giant wood louse! Luckily I’ve been to a fair number of lobster boils in my day and, as per the instructions, the meat actually was very easy to remove once it was cooked.

I served the lobster with steamed asparagus, baby-cut carrots, and baby potatoes, all cooked very easily in the microwave. All in all this meal took me about 25 minutes to make, which is good because I was (as usual) running late. One thing I missed out on was garlic butter to drizzle on the lobster, which I do regret, but it was pretty darned good anyway.