Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Cheap Date with the Frugal Foodie: Doing the Math

Food + Drinks + Friends + Family + Music + Shopping + Money raised for a good cause = 1 Good Party!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Craft Corner: Bargain Bijoux Part Deux

I also stumbled upon some amazing necklaces created by Lauren Manoogian out of paperclips and vinyl tape. Now that I just HAD to try.

And I just happened to have two packs of vintage paperclips - cool boxes, no?

I'd love to know where Ms. Manoogian finds her great colors of tape - but until then I used what I had, which was primary colors and black:

The trick to making these its "link - then wrap" - and now I'm wondering what kind of earrings and bracelets I can make.

I whipped these out while catching up on True Blood on DVD (I'm still early in Season 1 - the library will only let me get one DVD at a time, so It'll be a while...) I just love crafting while I'm watching TV, and now everything I see these necklaces I hear Vampire Bill whispering "Suhkie..."

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Craft Corner: Bargain Bijoux

While looking for something else, I stumbled upon this super stylish update on the child hood classic: macaroni necklaces:

I'd had a lot of fun dying rice and small pasta for other projects, but was quite taken with the sophisticated colors and fun design of this piece, and wanted to make one for myself to wear to upcoming Frugal Foodie events. I'm not above looking a little silly to make an impression, but would like to keep a modicum of chic.

Luckily I've got lots of Wilton Icing Colors so I could achieve rich, interesting colors like Moss Green and Delphinium Blue that would be hard to get with your basic McCormick set of droppers.

To Dye The Noodles

Using water to die rice and very small pasta like orzo works fine, but for larger shapes use enough rubbing alcohol to soak the pasta, and enough food coloring to make a deep dye. Add about 1/3 cup alcohol and 1-2 toothpicks of paste food coloring into a zip-loc baggie for a large handful of pasta.

Mush the pasta around until its soaked, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Turn and kneed it a couple of times.

Drain the dye from the bag, and spread the noodles on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Set in the sun to dry. Will take about 1/2 an hour depending on the weather.

Oodles of pretty noodles!

For the Necklace

3 strands of 18 Tortiglioni noodles (not easy to find -I got some at United Market)
3 x 30" lengths of of mono filament wire

Tie all of the strings of mono filament wire together at one end, leaving about 2-1/2 inches that you'll use to attach the clasp.

String 18 pieces of pasta on each of the strings - one color on each strand, or mix 'em up.

Tie-off the other strings into a knot. Tie on a toggle or spring-type clasp.

For the green one, I braided the strands before I tied them off

And because what separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize, I made matching bracelets:

To Make the Bracelet

30 Piccolino Rotelle a.k.a mini wagon wheels
12" stretchy elastic string

Clip a binder clip to one end of the string to keep the noodles from slipping off. String the "beads" onto the string. Tie off and voila!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Say Tomato (Sauce) and a Tool Tip!

The tomatillo sauce was so yummy, I decided to try the same technique with Simple Pleasures Farms sweet little cherry tomatoes. And oh I'm glad I did!

The "recipe" is very loosy-goosey:

Take a bunch of:

Cherry Tomatoes- I think I used about 2 lbs
Onion - 1 whole, peeled and cut into 8ths or so
Garlic - 3-4 whole cloves

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (which I didn't have, I so I used a mix of white balsamic and red wine, but I wish I'd had regular balsamic) Sprinkle on sea salt and pepper.

Roast in a 450-degree oven for about 45 minutes

Dump it all in the food processor and add a good amount of basil leaves (my Trader Joe's basil plant is nearing the end of its life. It has served me well)

Ta-da! A super yummy, fresh-tasting and healthy sauce. I poured it over TJ's tortellini and it made a lovely lunch.

Oh, and the tip? I'm lucky that I have the counter space to keep my food process or out on the counter (and yes, I keep it plugged in and no, I don't want any grief about fire hazards or energy) but storing the disc blades has always been a problem. They're too big to put in a drawer, and are awkward and take up a lot of spaced in a cabinet.

The solution? I tipped the chopper blade to the side...

...and can keep both it and the shredder blade in the bowl of the processor - kewl!

I honestly have no idea where the slicer disk is, I don't think I've ever used it....

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Frugal Foodie Freebie - It's a Contest, kittens!

Fan me on Facebook to learn how you can win a set of nifty Grill Charms™!

Grill Charms™ are dime-sized charms placed in food before grilling so you can easily ID everyone's meat - neat!

These adorable charms are usually $19.95. There's still plenty of sunny weekends left for grilling - enter the contest so your next BBQ can be totally charming!

And, if you'd like to buy some more, just enter the code "GRILLING" at check out for $5.00 off - sweet!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Worth Its Salt!

The very cool folks at the Epsom Salt Council have sent out a press release promoting The Frugal Foodie Cookbook and the chapter on "Frugal Beauty Tips" using Epsom Salts.

AND they have a contest running on their Facebook page to win a signed copy of The Frugal Foodie Cookbook - check it out!

The fabulous Deb at the blog Kahakai Kitchen recently made one of the recipes for Epsom Salt-based Tub Tea and posted these lovely pix:

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