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Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

Hello Darlings!

 

I’ve been asked time and time again to share my skincare ritual, and seeing how I celebrated my 40th birthday last month, I think that’s a splendid idea! But before I get into all that, I thought I’d first share a recipe for my go-to, all natural, organic, apple cider vinegar toner.

Apple cider vinegar has a long list of beneficial uses: from weight loss, to skin care, medicinal purposes, cleaning and disinfecting, teeth whitening, I could go on forever. Thanks to my grandmother’s expert tutelage, I’ve been using ACV for ages. My favorite use, as I’ll share with you today is as a skin toner.

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Rich in alpha hydroxyl acids, ACV does a swell job in reducing the look of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. It’s antiseptic properties help prevent and treat acne (including blackheads). It lightens discoloration caused by acne scars, sunspots, and age spots. But best of all, ACV actually improves skin tone and texture, all for around $5 every few months. Just think of all the money you’ll save ditching the expensive store bought toners! You’ve got better plans for that cash anyway… like shoes!

The Recipe:

1 part Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar

2 parts water

a clean glass jar

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Simply divide your jar, whatever size, into thirds. Fill 1/3 up with the Braggs ACV (yes, use the Braggs, it’s raw, unfiltered, organic ACV, and only about $5 for a bottle that will last you MONTHS). Then, fill the rest with filtered water. That’s it!

Directions for use:

**If you have sensitive skin, go slow. ACV can be drying at first. Use once to twice a week for a couple of weeks, working your way up to everyday or even twice daily.

  1. Wash your face with a gentle facial cleanser and pat dry with a soft, clean towel.
  2. Shake your jar of ACV toner, then dip a cotton ball or pad in the solution.
  3. Swipe it all over your face, neck, and décolletage. Be sure to swipe under your eyes where we tend to collect wrinkles, but DO NOT GET IT IN YOUR EYES! (It burns, Precious, it burns!)

As the solution evaporates, the fumes tend to irritate the eyes. I like to take this time to close my eyes and relax a bit. Skincare time is me time, so I do like to soak it up.

Fair warning, ACV stinks like, well, vinegar. The odor will go away, usually by the time I’ve finished with my entire skincare ritual (more on that at a later date).

I can honestly say of all the products I’ve tried, nothing comes close to my ACV toner. Try it for a few weeks and tell me what you think!

 

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

 

 

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Decadent Chocolate Ganache Cake

Hello Darlings!

February is here and love is in the air. Shops are overflowing with flowers and big boxes of chocolates. It seems as if the whole world is swathed in pink and red hues. Don’t you just love l’amour?

One of my favorite things about the Valentine season is baking up something special for my one true love (who, by the way, has one serious sweet tooth). This year I made him the richest, most decadent, ooey-gooey, chocolate ganache cake. I’d love to share it with you for you to share with someone you love…or just eat it all yourself. It’s that good.

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Decadent Chocolate Ganache Cake

Prep time: 25 minutes

Start to finish time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Serves: 12

Ingredients:

(Cake)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour or 2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 2/3 cups sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

1 1/4 cups water

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

(Ganache)

2/3 cup whipping cream

6 oz semisweet baking chocolate (chopped, chips work as well)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350* F. Grease bottom and sides of two (9″) or 3 (8″) round cake pans; lightly flour.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat all the ingredients (except for those for the ganache) on low speed for 3 minutes, scraping to bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for an additional 3 minutes. Pour equal portions into pans.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until each cake passes the toothpick test. Let cool 10 minutes. DO NOT ALLOW TO COOL COMPLETELY IN THE PANS!!! Remove from the pans and allow to cool for 1 hour.
  4. While the cakes are baking, heat the whipping cream in a 1 quart saucepan over low heat util hot, but not boiling.
  5. Add in chocolate and stir obsessively, do not let it burn (chocolate can burn quickly). Once the chocolate is melted, remove from heat. The ganache will thicken as it cools. It’s ready when it mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon.
  6. Spoon cooled ganache between the cake layers. Pour over the top layer and allow it to drip over the sides of the cake. Spoon as much as you like to cover the cake.

**Tip: for an extra gooey cake, pour the ganache between the cake layers whilst it is still relatively thin, allowing the cake layers to absorb the moisture. Top the rest of the cake once the ganache has thickened up a bit.

Serve warm with a scoop of homestyle vanilla ice cream and a glass of cold milk.

Enjoy!

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

How to be the “Perfect” Vintage Housewife

Hello Darlings!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a gloriously productive January. Spring fever is starting to set in, so I thought I would take advantage and participate in Apartment Therapy’s The January cure. I can’t begin to describe how much I love it… but I’m going to anyway.

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I very much loathe a household out of order. I can’t think straight surrounded by clutter. I’m not so much a clean freak as I am a person who feels put off by disarray. Spring cleaning, while therapeutic, can also be overwhelming! Where do I start? What needs doing? What am I missing? The January cure has been enormously helpful in guiding me through the process. Without it, I’d probably be scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush while the rest of my house fell to pieces! But today’s post really isn’t about the January Cure. Today I’d like to share with you my daily tasks as a real life (modern) vintage housewife. But first we need to address the history of the “1950’s housewife” archetype.

The 1950’s Housewife: Symbol of Misogyny… or was she?

Anytime someone brings up “my look” as it relates to misogyny in the before times, my eyes roll (not really, that would be terribly rude). The fact is, popular culture, media, and entertainment have given us this idea that  women of the 1950’s were enslaved in their homes, forced to cater to their husband’s every whim, completely devoid of pleasure or enjoyment. She is a lovely and sad creature. She is The Stepford Wives, Mad Men, and Mona Lisa Smile. Or was she?

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This little image has made it’s rounds on the interwebs for ages. It serves as a reminder as to how awful men and the times were… except it’s a hoax.

The truth is, the 1950’s housewife wasn’t at all unlike women today. My grandmothers, for instance, had jobs. They were divorced and remarried. They lived lives, day to day, like  other women. Then, and now, women make choices. We choose the paths we want to walk. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Some women marry honorable men, some marry real jerks, some don’t get married at all. Some go to school, some work outside the home, some choose to be homemakers. And while, yes, the role of most women in the before times was that of homemaker, not every woman followed this path. The point is, we should be wary of falling for stereotypes as they are rarely ever true.

How to be the “Perfect” Vintage Housewife

 

Alright, this title is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, poking fun at our vision of the Donna Reed homemaker. Truth is, pigeons, there is no such thing as “perfect”. It doesn’t exist. Striving for an unattainable goal will only make you feel like a failure, so STOP IT! Instead, I like to think of “perfect” more as improved. What am I doing daily to make my home better?

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I will be the first to tell you I am extremely privileged to be a full-time homemaker. While technically self-employed, I consider myself, first and foremost, a homemaker. I had a wonderful career in animal and behavioral sciences spanning 20 years, and when my Mr got his promotion and subsequent transfer, it was the perfect time for me to retire. I tell you this so when you see my daily task list, you don’t freak out. My job is to care for my home. If I worked outside of the home, I wouldn’t get half of these things done! My daily tasks, on paper, look never ending! It looks like I do nothing but scrub and clean, but that isn’t entirely true either. Because I keep up on these tasks every day, I have all kinds of time to indulge in a hobby, take a nap, binge watch a season of whatever on Netflix, and some days skip cleaning entirely. Because I don’t let my house fall apart, taking care of it isn’t too much work at all. I also enlist help. My son has chores. My Mr, even after working a twelve hour day, will pitch in. Nothing in our home is ever viewed as “mom’s job”. When something needs doing, someone does it. Simple as that.

I’ve compiled my daily task list on not only the things related to my home specifically, but also on the myriad of housekeeping and etiquette books I’ve amassed though the years. Keep in mind, my list is tailored to my home and my family. Feel free to use it as inspiration for your own task list. Remember, perfection doesn’t exist. The “perfect” housewife is merely one who cares for her home and the people (and pets) in it.

Dolly Marlowe’s Guide for the “Perfect” Vintage Housewife (pdf)

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XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

 

New Year, New You

Hello Darlings!

The new year is almost here and I am giddy with anticipation. Not because I have any exciting plans, mind you (well, other than the Sherlock season 4 premier). My romantic NYE celebration aboard the Queen Mary plans were waylaid by a very costly auto repair (insert sad face here). No, I am giddy because I love the New Year holiday! I love the hope that comes with the turn of the calendar page. I love the promise of a fresh start. I love new year resolutions!

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Jayne Mansfield counting down the New Year

I know some people do get a bit grumpy about such things: “January 1st is just another day”, “You don’t need a holiday to change your life”, “Things won’t magically get better when the clock strikes midnight”, etc. While those are all very true statements, they ignore the thing that makes the new year so special… community. For this one day in the year, it seems the whole world is looking out to the horizon with eagerness and hope. We can do better, be better, we can make small but meaningful changes in our lives and the lives of others if only we dare to try.

Silly and cliche as it may be, I make New Year’s resolutions every year, and every year I get better and better at keeping them (making them public also helps keep me accountable).

My 2017 New Year’s Resolutions!

  1. Concentrate on my health. Like most people, my past resolutions have been something to the effect of “get in shape”, “lose weight”, etc. Those are great goals, and if they are your goals, I say go for it! For me, however, things aren’t that simple. You see, I live with chronic illness, and as such, my weight can fluctuate quite dramatically throughout the year. I can’t always go to the gym. I can’t always get out of bed! BUT I can focus on making healthier choices both mentally and physically by eating better, exercising everyday (even if its only a few minutes of stretching), clearing out negative influences from my life, focus on personal growth.
  2. Be more productive. This one always manages to make it onto my resolutions list. Maybe because I’m a creative and a perfectionist (a dangerous combination, indeed). I’ve made significant progress in the past, but I’ve also seen a steep decline recently. We moved to a tiny town, in the middle of nowhere, where I don’t know a soul. It can be a little depressing (and boring). When the gloom sets in, I stall out. So I resolve to do something productive everyday, something creative, something active, something constructive, it doesn’t matter as long as I’m doing something.
  3. Explore more. Especially in my new home. Apparently my new little spot on the map is full of rich history: old western mining towns, Nazi spies, classic western filming locations, and even Star Wars was filmed out here. Who knew? Not me, and that’s why I resolve to get out to do some exploring. This will be a tall order for an introvert, but I plan on writing about my adventures, so maybe that will push me over the social hump.
  4. Get organized. This is another one that lands on my list every year, and I have made improvements years past, but again, this move has really thrown a monkey wrench in the works. Nevertheless, I remain undeterred. This will also help me with my other resolutions, so organization will likely forever be on my list.
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The lovely and talented Debbie Reynolds, who we sadly lost this year.

And there you have it. I really do look forward to this coming year, and I hope to share my progress with my readers. What are your resolutions? Any hopes for the new coming year? I’d love to hear about them.

Happy New Year!

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

Atomic Pasta Salad

Hello Darlings!

Well, summer is finally upon us. It’s time for BBQs, picnics, and all sorts pot-luck of frivolity. Being a vegetarian, the ubiquitous summer gathering always poses a bit of a challenge. I love food, and I do not eat like a bird. There is nothing worse than smelling bbq and watching everyone stuff themselves while I gnaw on carrot sticks and mellon balls. Mama wants to EAT! Well, I’m sure there are some things worse than that (war, cancer, reality TV), but starving at a bbq is up there. I also feel it is bad form to expect the hosts to arrange their party around my dietary needs. Yes, that is part of good party planning, but when I am a guest, I need to be prepared.

So, I came up with this little dish to fill any veggie voids left by my carnivorous hosts… Atomic Pasta Salad. Tasty, filling, and always a welcome addition to any summer soirée. Don’t worry it isn’t spicy. The name “Atomic” doesn’t come from the flavor, but from the atomic age. In the 1950’s convenience foods were all the rage, bottled, canned, frozen… plastic was in! This salad is a reflection of that. It is not organic or “from scratch” by any means, although the recipe can be tweaked to make it so. It’s easy to make last minute with what you’ve got hanging around the kitchen already. I last brought this salad to an Easter bbq and egg hunt, and it was one of the most popular dishes of the party. It’s quite the complement when you go home with an empty dish!

The delish sandwich in the background is a BLT lovingly hand crafted by my Mr. with soy bacon!

Atomic Pasta Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total cook/chill time: 1 hour

Servings: 6 – 8

Ingredients:

12oz Rainbow Rotini Pasta

1/2c diced red onion

1/2c chopped red bell pepper

1/2c finely chopped carrots

1/4c green onion

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tbsp minced garlic

1/4c Olive Oil (light)

2 tbsp Strawberry Basil Balsamic Vinegar

2 tbsp Brianna’s Homestyle Blush Wine Vinaigrette Dressing

Shredded Parmesan Cheese to taste

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2c Ken’s Steak House Creamy Balsamic Salad Dressing

*optional add ins: I like to add sliced grape tomato and black olives. My Mr. hates both of those things, so I put them on the side and add them to my individual plate.

Directions:

1) Bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add pasta. Boil pasta for about 9 min. stirring occasionally.

2) Drain pasta and set it aside in a large glass mixing bowl.

3) Mix in olive oil. Be sure to coat all of the pasta to prevent sticking.

4) Add in red onion, green onion, carrots, rosemary, and garlic. Mix well, but be careful not to disturb the shape of the pasta. The spirals will be somewhat fragile until they cool.

5) Fold in the Ken’s Steakhouse Creamy Balsamic Salad Dressing. Be sure to coat every last bit of pasta and veg!

6) Add in the Strawberry Basil Balsamic Vinegar and Brianna’s Homestyle Blush Wine Vinaigrette Dressing. Again, stir well, but carefully.

7) Add parmesan, slat, and pepper to taste.

8) Cover and refrigerate for about an hour or until cold.

Fresh rosemary from my garden. 

I do hope you enjoy!

xoxo

Dolly Marlowe

We’re Moving!

Hello Darlings!

I want to apologize most fervently for my lack of diary entries as of late. My little family will be picking up and moving to a tiny little desert town most folks have never even heard of (more on that later). I had the best intentions to keep writing in that time, but the process is turning out to be less smooth than originally imagined. So, I am officially announcing an unofficial and (hopefully) brief hiatus. I may, if my schedule allows, post things that don’t require lots of photos or construction or time in the kitchen (as everything is either packed away or a complete mess). I should be back at it some time in April. Until then, please be a love and subscribe to my Diary (you’ll find the sign-up apparatus to the right of this page). This way you won’t miss anything should I decide to throw caution to the wind and share something earth shattering . See you soon!

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XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

Cherry Coke Cupcakes

Hello Darlings!

It seems that lately I’ve been inundating you with cooking posts. I promise I will widen our horizons in the very near future, but I always like to share a sweet treat on Valentine’s Day. So today I submit to you delicious Cherry Coke Cupcakes! These little beauties are all over Pinterest, but none of the recipes really worked for me. They either didn’t taste like cola or they were too mushy. I took the best of what I tried and combined it into the recipe I have for you today. Fair warning, we are using boxed cake mix. While I do love baking from scratch, I have too much going on at the homestead right now to mess with such things (also, I’ve never made cupcake batter from scratch. Time to call Grandmama!). On to our recipe.

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Cherry Coke Cupcakes

Prep time: 15min  Cook time: 25 min  Servings: 24

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • Boxed Devil’s Food cake mix (plus the required ingredients, omitting the water)
  • 1 cup Coca Cola
  • 1/3 cup maraschino cherry juice
  • 24 maraschino cherries without stems

Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter softened
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2tbsp Coca Cola (or more)
  • 1tbsp maraschino cherry juice
  • 24 maraschino cherries with stems
  • red food coloring

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*.
  2. Prepare a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  3. Prepare the cake batter according to the box instructions, substituting the water for the coke and cherry juice. Do not over mix!
  4. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full and plop a cherry into the batter (don’t push it in, the cake will rise around it).
  5. Bake as directed, let cool completely. You can put them in the Frigidaire to cool faster.

Frosting

  1. Whip butter, coke, and cherry juice together.
  2. Gradually add in the confectioner’s sugar.
  3. If the frosting is too dry, add more coke as needed (be careful! I spilled a bit and my frosting, though delicious, was far too wet).
  4. Stir in red food coloring (I used somewhere between 5 and 8 drops).
  5. Frost as desired. Use a pastry bag with a piping tip or cut a hole in a plastic baggie.
  6. Top with a cherry and enjoy!

*an additional option is adding chocolate sprinkles or gummy coke bottles.

There you have it. A quick and easy treat on St. Valentine’s Day. I hope you love it.

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe ♥