Recent Thrift Store Finds

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Here are the things I found during a recent visit to Value Village.

I’ll start with something decorative, that I totally didn’t need, but that I found so cute that I couldn’t resist. At the check-out, this little guy got lots of attention from the elderly couple behind me in line, who could remember their daughter having one like it.

It’s a bank, that appears to be from the 1970s. It’s in perfect condition and even still has its rubber stopper to keep the coins in.

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It seems that, as usual, I found most of my must-haves in the kitchenware and linen departments.

I’m not sure if it’s this particular store or that I choose things that other people aren’t interested in, but those two areas are the ones that I always seem to have good luck in. As a result, I haven’t bought any sort of dishware or kitchen linen at retail in ages. Well, except for the wine glasses we bought ourselves to celebrate our ‘crystal’ anniversary in November, but that was special, and truth be told, I did look for some nice ones at the thrift first, but there weren’t any. I guess because they’re fragile, wine glasses tend to break before anyone donates them.

Here are the goods …

A tablecloth that has never even been out of its packaging. It was made by a company in Quebec, called Maison Ungava.

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Six fine cotton napkins. We do have quite a collection of fabric napkins (all of them thrifted), because we use them everyday instead of paper, so I’ll put these ones away so we have some fresh ones for company.

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This next find had me doing a little dance of joy in my head when I saw them — 2 vintage Corelle Soup Plates, in the pattern Old Town Blue, that appear to never have been used. This pattern, which I’ve been collecting for the past five years or so, was discontinued in the 70s, so these are about 40 years old. What made me especially happy to find these is that the shape is rare, and there aren’t many in circulation. They’re made for soup, but we’ll also be using them for salads, pasta and desserts.

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Next are a couple of drinking glasses, make in Turkey by a company called Pasabahce Glass Company. (There is a P stamped on the bottom.) While these look common and as though they’d be easy to find, let me tell you that they are not! I’ve been looking for some, both at the thrift store and at retail since last winter. I have found small ones, but wanted tall ones like these to use to serve lattes, as they do at this favourite cafe.

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Here is a glass bowl that goes nicely with my other amber glass things, like this plate and this platter.

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I do love a good serving tray and have a few, but we use them for all kinds of things around the house, so this sturdy stainless steel one will come in handy.

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I picked up this copper trivet to use under a house plant in a similar coloured terracotta pot. It’s already in use and looks very nice!

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The last thing I got is this book, ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’ by Mitch Albom. This was recommended by a blogger, but I can’t tell you who — whenever I read about a book someone liked, I download a sample of it on my iPad, which gives me a nice electronic ‘bookshelf’ for things I want to read, but there isn’t a spot for notes, so I forget who mentioned which book. Anyway, before going to the thrift store, I take a quick look at the list, so I’ll know what to pick up if I see it amongst the hundreds of books they have at Value Village.

I am not religious so wouldn’t normally have selected something that refers to heaven in the title, but this book spent a whopping 95 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers List when it came out in 2003, so it must be good, right?

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And that wraps up my recent thrift store purchases. I got all this stuff for under $35, which is less than I would have paid for the tablecloth alone, at a ‘regular’ store. I know that thrift store shopping isn’t for everyone, as there are a lot of junky and ugly things to sift through, since after-all, the stock is comprised of someone else’s cast offs. But personally, I get a kick out of finding the needle in the haystack.

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Thanks for taking a look,
xo loulou

Posted in Thrift Store Shopping | 7 Comments

Healthier Banana Bread : Made with Bran, Almonds and Olive Oil

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Here’s a true story … as Nick and I were tidying the kitchen after dinner last night, I told him I would bake something for dessert on the weekend. I was looking at the nice apples he had picked up at Kensington Market on Wednesday and suggested this Apple Cake. His response was, ‘You know what I’d really like you to make? Banana Bread. Or give me your recipe and I’ll make it.’

He had no idea I was planning on posting my recipe today, so I didn’t plant the thought in his head either!

His answer surprised me because Banana Bread is more of a snack or breakfast food than a dessert. Also it has to be the thing that I’ve baked most often in recent years and the reality is that he’s never really seemed to be all that into it.

Since it has always been more my thing than his, I’ve felt free to tweak the recipe every time I’ve made it, in an attempt to make a healthier version that was still tasty. Since he wasn’t asking to sample it, any fails could be kept to myself. However now, based on his choice for what he really wants me to bake this weekend, I think I’ve hit on a winner.

While most Banana Bread recipes contain melted butter, white flour, and up to a cup of sugar to make a single loaf, my recipe calls for heart-healthy Olive Oil (you can’t taste any olive flavour), bran, whole-wheat flour, and the minimal amount of sugar required to make it taste like a treat, but not overly sweet. Also included are nutritious and protein-filled raw almonds, which are apparently the best nut to eat for disease prevention. Their fibre, along with that in the whole-wheat flour and bran, will fill you up, making this an excellent thing to have when you need a snack.

Oh, and a word about baking with bananas — You know when you have that one on the counter that just didn’t get eaten in time? Well, just put it in a bag or container (still in its peel) and stick it in the freezer. It will be a soggy looking mess when you thaw it out later to use in your baking, but don’t be turned off because it will be perfect for the purpose. Honestly. You can use frozen bananas to make this bread, or a combo of very ripe fresh ones and frozen ones. Or just fresh ripe ones, if you always manage to eat all your bananas before they get too brown. [Aside: when I was a little kid I absolutely loved bananas that were past their prime, to the point that it amazed my parents that I would eat them like that. I thought they tasted like Coca-cola, which we didn’t get very often, so over-ripe bananas were my substitute. My tastes have changed now though and the brown bananas get put into the freezer.]

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So here’s the magic recipe. I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do.

 

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:45]

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Thanks for checking out my post. I hope you have a great weekend!
xo loulou

Posted in Appetizers and Snacks, Recipes | 2 Comments