Recipe: Dracula's Chicken Paprika


draculas chicken paprika cheap and easy weeknight dinner recipe

My mom read Dracula a few years ago and all of those wonderful, aromatic dishes described in the book made her hungry for traditional comfort foods of Eastern Europe. One such dish is chicken paprika and has become a family favorite since she first made it for us. This is a perfect dish for autumn and winter. Its cheap, quick and perfect for a weeknight dinner.

From Bram Stoker's Dracula:

"Jonathan Harker's Journal
3 May. Bistritz. __Left Munich at 8:35 P. M, on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late. Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through the streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible.
The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East; the most western of splendid bridges over the Danube, which is here of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkish rule.
We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh. Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem. get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called "paprika hendl," and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians."

This is a very traditional dish and much like the recipe for paprika itself, every family does it differently. I've read several variations on this recipe, some using a whole chicken, some without the bell peppers, some served with rice or dumplings. This is how mom made it and it worked out well so this is how we make it at my house.

vintage pinup paprika tins

2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 bell peppers
1-2 onions, depending on how much you like onions
a ton of smoked hungarian paprika
2 cups chicken broth
a little olive oil/vegetable oil- whatever you have on hand

something to pile it on such as egg noodles, dumplings or rice

sprinkle some salt on the chicken breast and dump the ground black pepper on like its going out of style. Toss it in a pan heated with a few tablespoons of oil.  Brown the chicken

Add onions and peppers, cut up however you like them. We do big strips but you could definitely dice them if you like.

let the veggies cook for a few minutes, then shove everything off to one side.

 then add a shit ton of smoked paprika to the remaining oil/juices. If it looks like you don't have much liquid in there, you could add a little chicken broth, just to help mix the paprika .  I probably add more paprika than anyone ever has. If you're a normal person, add a few tablespoons but if you're like me, add like....I don't know, 5 or 6 tablespoons or more. Mix that good stuff in with the oil juices to form a paste, then stir it all up with the chicken and veggies.

Next, add 2 cups of chicken broth, stir it up and let it simmer for 10 minutes or till the liquid has reduced to form a light sauce.

Serve on top of dumplings, rice or egg noodles. You can also add a dollop of sour cream on top.

Giveaways and Chat with the Vintage Bloggers


There's a bunch of fun things happening in the vintage community this week, join in!

Emileigh from Flashback Summer is a fellow Missouri vintage blogger. She is celebrating two years of blogging with a huge giveaway event. Stop by Flashback Summer and enter to win 6 different giveaway packages. I'm providing a $20 credit to my etsy shop Wacky Tuna Vintage and my ecourse Bloggerific: a guide to a beautiful, successful blog to two lucky readers. Emiliegh has several other prizes including some vintage treats and blog exposure so run over and enter!

This Sunday,  I'm co-hosting a Twitter chat with Emileigh and Lisa from Retro Housewife Goes Green, along with some of our other favorite vintage bloggers. Please join us for a live chat about all things vintage and we'll be giving away another $20 credit to Wacky Tuna Vintage to one of our participants. I've never done a twitter chat before but you can get all of the details and RSVP at Retro Housewife Goes Green and I hope to see you all there on Sunday!

Giveaway: B-Movie Bombshells Paper Dolls


Today I have one more beautiful paper doll giveaway, this time featuring a collection of sultry B movie bombshells paper dolls from Dover Publications. This set is illustrated by Gregg Nystrom and captures the unique style of each starlet wearing her iconic costume or publicity photo outfit. 

The elaborate costumes and curvaceous figures are too beautiful to be hidden away in the pages of a book. If you choose to cut them out, you could glue them to magnetic sheet and enjoy them as kitschy fridge magnets or frame them and hang them in a group near your vanity. Each clothing item includes the actress's initials on one of the folding tabs.

This collection includes:
Mari Blanchard, Joan Collins, Mara Corday, Bella Darvi, Faith Domergue, Diana Dors, Anita Ekberg, Rhonda Fleming, ZsaZsa Gabor, Joi Lansing, Janet Leigh, Jayne Mansfield, Barbara Nichols, Debra Paget, Elaine Stewart and Mamie Van Doren.

Enter to win a copy of B Movie Bombshells Paper Dolls and check out the other beautiful paper dolls and vintage fashion catalogs from Dover Publications

a Rafflecopter giveaway

B Movie Bombshells Paper Dolls provided for review and giveaway courtesy of Dover Publications. Dover Publications is a sponsor of Va-Voom Vintage.

V for Victory


 1940s pig tail victory rolls v for victory brooch and pendleton 49er

The weather this weekend has been so beautiful in St Louis. I happily opened all of the windows and tried to get as much outdoor time as possible. On Saturday, we decorated for Halloween and played with the kids in the back yard while we did the end of year weed pulling and trimming.

1940s pig tail victory rolls v for victory brooch and pendleton 49er

I wore blue  Pendleton jacket with a new V for Victory brooch. I made some of these for the shop but I decided to change them up a bit and embroider "Victory" along the little banner. The design is based on an original war era bakelite V for Victory brooch but I love the make do and mend look of the felt. They're available in my shop, Wacky Tuna Vintage

1940s style V for Victory wartime brooch felt from Wacky Tuna Vintage

The jeans are thrifted from Venezia by Lane Bryant. They're straight leg and long enough for a deep cuff, similar to the Gloria Vanderbilt jeans but I think I like a GV's a little better. Still not bad and they have a decent high waist, very comfortable.

plus size 1940s style casual jeans,pendleton jacket and victory rolls

I also tried a new hair style today, totally by accident. My hair was a mess from a heavily teased beehive the day before so I pinned some curls and rolls here and there, pulled it into pigtails and added some of my handmade hair bows in cute repro feedsack prints. Stay tuned tomorrow for a tutorial on this easy style

1940s victory rolls with pigtails and hair bows 1940s victory rolls with pigtails and hair bows V for Victory brooch

o u t f i t
pendleton jacket- warehouse sale
70s peach button up blouse- thrifted
V for Victory Brooch- Wacky Tuna Vintage
Lane Bryant Jeans-Thrifted
Aris Allen Rug Cutter wedges- ebay
hair bows- Wacky Tuna Vintage

This is Halloween


1950s vintage halloween plus size ouija board novelty brooch

We finally got around to decorating the house for Halloween. We took the kids to the Dollar Tree and I found a bunch of wonderful halloween decorations. I shared our finished look and little paper owl on my Instagram on Saturday.

1950s vintage halloween plus size ouija board novelty brooch

1950s vintage halloween plus size ouija board novelty brooch

We found some great big pumpkins for the kids but we can't decide if we want to paint or carve them. Olivia loved the pumpkin seeds so maybe we'll carve one and paint the other.

If you're still working on decorations, see last year's roundup of 12 DIY elegant halloween decorations

o u t f i t
1950s sweater- thrifted
mid century print skirt-handmade by me
Ouija board brooch- Wacky Tuna Vintage
black maryjanes- borrowed from mom and never returned- sorry mom!

1950s vintage halloween plus size ouija board novelty brooch

Little Quirks


Everyone has little quirks. I have several. I can't drink out of a glass of water after I set it down, unless it has a lid. I love to sweep and mop and I can't do anything if my space is cluttered and disorganized. I am basically useless for at least a few days while I binge watch Netflix and figure out what I need to do. After that part of the cycle is over, I go on a mad cleaning spree and throw things away things I will probably need next week.

This happened on a large scale recently and I haven't been able to blog or do anything as a result. The house got a total organization and de-clutter overhaul and so did my blog. It took about 3 weeks to get everything how I wanted it but we're here now and I can finally sit down and do the things I love to do, including crafting, Etsy selling and blogging. My craft room is completely organized, my vintage magazines are on the shelves according to date and we're teaching the kids to tidy up bedroom and playroom before bed. I made myself a new cleaning schedule that works well with our new time spent working on Kindergarten prep and fun craft projects.

I hope that you like my new blog look and new navigation. My navigation was a major problem for a long time but I think I finally got it how I wanted it. There's a lovely drop down menu up there and most of the links will take you to a beautiful interactive gallery of posts so I hope you can all finally find what you're looking for and have an easier time exploring my old posts that were lost in the sea of messiness that I had going on for a while.

Also in the past few weeks, I was given a huge collection of vintage craft magazines. Like, they filled the trunk of our PT Cruiser! I have so many amazing vintage crafts, knitting and crochet patterns and fashions to share from them here so we can all look forward to that!

Apologies for the much needed and very long blog break but I feel like I can finally work more efficiently and have fun now that the hard work is done. Blogging will resume tomorrow! 

Haunted Vintage 2014: A Very Creepy Christmas



Do you believe in ghosts? For the past few years, I've shared some of my spooky experiences in vintage hunting. While washing dishes last night after dinner, Pj and I reminisced about our ghost stories and he reminded me of one I couldn't believe I had almost forgotten!

Last year I shared the story of a choking feeling on the 3rd floor of an Alton, IL antique store
In 2012 I shared the story of bringing home an unwanted guest from an estate sale

A few years ago, when Rhys was just a few months old, we took the kids for an afternoon at one of our favorite local antique malls. They know us by name and ask about the kids when we don't bring them with us. We've been enough times to almost know the booth numbers by heart!

In the middle of this mall is a fabulous booth loaded to the brim with vintage buttons, costume jewelry, greeting cards, vintage baby clothes, linens and all sorts of wonderful things, all very affordably priced. I usually make myself comfy on the floor while I rummage through small plastic totes for at least 45 minutes and Pj takes one or both of the kids for a walk around on their own while I dig.

It was a November afternoon and the antique Christmas decor was out. I could hear the kids and Pj tinkering with some Christmas music boxes in the next aisle over. After a while, they came back and I had stashed my small haul in the shopping basket on my arm. Pj had a funny look on his face and he said "Hey, come check out this booth over here".

I didn't think anything of it. It was a small booth, just a few down from my "button booth" as I call it. It was full of Christmas stuff. A few trees, lots of boxes of Shiney Brite ornaments, a few of those kistchy plastic snowmen and Santas for the lawn. I stepped in to look at things and as soon as my foot crossed the line into the booth, I felt sick. Pj described it last night as cabin pressure changing in an airplane. My head was tingling and hot. Like -really- hot, painful. I had that "get the hell out of there" feeling. I stepped out and felt perfectly normal.  I looked at him and he said "right?!"


 I stepped in again and immediately was hit by that terrible feeling. I felt dizzy and my vision blurred. I moved around the space, slowly to see if it went away or got worse.  There was a wooden carved angel plaque about 3 feet across. It was hand painted and looked like you might hang it over your door or set it on a fireplace mantle. Its wings spread out across the length of the plaque with a pretty face in the middle and as I moved closer, my face burned hotter and my cheeks got red. I had enough and we left.

We continues pushing the stroller around, talking about it. About a month later, we went back to the antique mall and the booth was empty. It has been several years and there hasn't been a merchant in that space since. It feels just as normal as any other space now. We don't know if it was the angel, something else or just some strange coincidence but it was enough to give us the creeps years later!

Please share your ghost stories in the comments and for more vintage creepiness, see my pin board, Strange, Creepy and Vintage

How to Cut A Pineapple from 1950s Hawaii


how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii
Today I'm going to show you how to cut a pineapple without wasting anything, as taught to me by my grandma.

 In the 1940s, when my grandma was just a few months old, my great grandparents moved the family to Hawaii.  They lived there for several years and grandma brought her love of the fresh pineapple home with her. I was visiting her a few weeks ago and she had the most beautiful fresh pineapple tidbits to accompany our chips and sandwiches for lunch. I asked her to teach me the fine art of choosing and cutting a fresh pineapple so she came by my place the next week and I had a good one waiting for her.  While they still lived in Hawaii, a couple of sisters from the Philippines owned a local produce stand. They would occasionally babysit my grandma and her brothers and she learned the art of the pineapple from them.

Choosing a Ripe Pineapple
A nice ripe pineapple is such a treat. It should be fairly golden throughout but especially near the bottom. Grandma says that if its still a bit green towards the top, it's fine, as long as it follows the other rules of ripeness. The center leaves should pop out or wiggle easily and the tips of the leaves should be starting to get dry. If they are very dry and falling out, the pineapple is rotting. The bottom of the pineapple should smell fantastic and the skin should be a tiny bit soft.  If its too squishy, it's a goner.

how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii

how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii

Now this is a critical step according to grandma and the sisters from the produce stand- the night before you're ready to cut the pineapple, set it in the corner of your kitchen counter upside down. The sweet juices that have settled to the bottom will run all throughout the pineapple and make it all taste divine.

Cutting the Pineapple

To Cut a Pineapple, you will need a cutting board and a good heavy knife.

Chop the Top off, just an inch or two below the leaves. Some people leave the top on till the last minute to use as a handle.

how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii

Chop the bottom off an inch or two up

how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii

Stand it up on its end and begin slicing off the skin. This part took me about 3 pineapples before I was totally comfortable and always cut it at an even rate but take your time and you'll get it. You don't want to go too deep and waste the pineapple. I've seen a ton of internet tutorials and people always waste so much by cutting in too deep.  I you start too thin, you can always slice a bit more off. Turn the pineapple as you go, slicing off the skin.

how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii

Now for the little pokies. This is where the magic happens.  Set the pineapple on its side and at an angle. You will notice that the eyes have a diagonal pattern to them. Spot 2-3 of them and cut at an angle.

Now move your knife to the other side and cut at another shallow angle and they will slide right out. Do this all the way around the pineapple. Yes, you can use a spoon or small knife or whatever to dig them out individually but this goes pretty quick and you're left with a beautiful fruit and very little of the sweet juice squished out. I tried digging them all out before and I ended up mutilating the poor thing!

how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii

Always cut at the same angle, even if you have a few single ones to pop out, no big deal.

When you're done, the whole pineapple will have this beautiful spiral pattern around. Olivia is always sitting next to me while I'm cutting pineapple so she gets to chew on these little "bits" as she calls them. You may also toss them into a smoothie or juicer.

how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii

You can cut the pineapple into round slices from here but we like tidbits so here's how grandma does it:

Set the fruit on its bottom and slice it right down the middle crosswise.

how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii

Now you will have 4 sections. Set each section on end (or on its side if you're nervous about cutting yourself) and slice the core out of there. Again, I tend to go too shallow in fear of wasting fruit so you can always feel for the rough bits and slice them off as needed.

how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii
how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii

how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii

Next, cut these sections into 2-3 spears or however big your family likes them.

The core still has some sweet juices and scraps of tender fruit. When Grandma was a girl, she and her brothers were sent out on the porch to chew the juices out of the core. Now, she stashes them away in the freezer for a wonderful high fiber addition to a smoothie. They don't last long enough for smoothies in my house- the kids and Pj usually devour them!

Finally, you're ready to cut the spears into tidbits.

how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii

how to spiral cut a pineapple from 1950s Hawaii

My Vintage Favourites by Leah Loverich


Hello wonderful readers of Va-Voom Vintage, my name is Leah and I can most often be found blogging over at or sharing the occasional photo over at, though today I am feeling very lucky to be publishing to Brittany's fabulous blog, so before I begin I must say a huge thank you to Brittany for allowing me this opportunity!  

Over at I like to use my blog as a place to document my collecting of vintage and antiques, and will often make posts dedicated to sharing photographs of my collected items along with a few details or facts on them. Today I will be doing very similar and will be sharing a selected few of my very favourite pieces from within my collection, I do hope you enjoy!   

leah loverich vintage


Out of all the items I will be sharing within this post today, this heart locket necklace is the item of vintage which is most dearest to me as this was originally gifted to my Grandmother by my Grandfather when they first started courting, it even still has a photo of my young Grandfather inside. This is one item of vintage that I do not wear for fear of losing it! Have any of you lovelies been fortunate enough to be a gifted a heart shaped locket from a loved one? 

leah loverich vintage


If you are without a lover to spoil you, then spoil yourself! Online sites such as always offer a large range of beautiful engraved lockets, though if you prefer to purchase in person, I'm sure your local antique or jewellery store will have something similar. 

leah loverich vintage

More images can be seen 'here'.

This Edwardian blouse may not have the same sentimental value as my heart shaped locket but it has soon became a favourite within my collection due to the history that can be discovered from its one single embroidered label "Peter Robinson, Blouse Department, Regent Street, London". Peter Robinson had started life as a draper’s shop in 1833, but by the 1960s it had grown to become a chain of stores across the UK, it however is now 'Nike Town'. - I just love being able to find out the history of a brand and where an item came from just by it having a little label!

leah loverich vintage


Edwardian blouses can be quite tricky to pick up in person though I do always see a few at local antique fairs here in the UK, and once again is great place to come by beautiful items of this era. 

leah loverich vintage

More images can be seen 'here'.

Though I adore some of the most "glitzy" of eras (the 1920s, 30s...) and I do admire full on glamour, I've never been one for owning or wearing too much glitz, its seems to suit others perfectly but just not me unfortunately, so I do like to add just touches of vintage sparkle to my outfits and I've always found this diamanté purse/dainty clutch to be the perfect accessory for such! I also find dainty gem necklaces or brooches to be the perfect sparkly finish to a vintage outfit too. 

leah loverich vintage


This is the only purse like this that I have come by in person, and I have come by just one other online, so I'd recommend keeping an eye out online and at your local vintage and antique stores. Though I do feel this purse could make good DIY inspiration, should you wish to turn a not so pretty 1950s purse into something a little more special and unusual! 

leah loverich vintage


These hair slides/combs also have some sentimental value to them for me as they were gifted to me by my Great-Aunt who was gifted them by the original owner, my Great-Grandmother! I have suspicions that the plastic comb part was added much later or was most likely replacement for original broken combs, the shell area however appears to be very original. I think out of all the vintage I own, these slides are worn the most, they are so simple yet make a lovely extra touch to any outfit as they reflect all colours. 

leah loverich vintage


Once again I am going to recommend, so many beautiful hair accessories from all eras can always be found on, and often at a very reasonable price!

Thank you for reading/viewing, I do hope you have enjoyed this little look into my personal collection. If you are a fellow blogger and vintage collector please do link your blogs as I love to have a little nosey look into other peoples vintage collections too! 

Leah Loverich

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