Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm Feeling Lucky!

Hey - this is just a quick reminder that today is the last day to enter the drawing for a $45 gift certificate to CSN Stores.  Post your comment on this post, which also includes all the rules and regulations, today by 5pm Eastern time in order to be entered to win.

Meanwhile, this is an amazing new R.E.M. song. Enjoy!  (If you are reading in an RSS reader, you may need to click through to the site to get the video.  It is totally worth it.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Public Service Announcement


The Frugal Hostess reads 100+ blogs, and if she had to click around to all of them looking for new posts, she would never get anything done.  Instead, she subscribes to the ones she likes in Google Reader, and all every time a new post is published it pops right in there.  This is a great explanation of how to use RSS to read blogs from A Cowboy's Wife, and FruHo sure would love it if you subscribed to this one.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Dining Room

NOT FruHo's actual dining room.
Unlike most Americans, The Frugal Hostess does not care for an open floor plan, preferring instead a bunch of small rooms separated from each other with doors.  Or at least doorways.  Maybe the reason for this is having lived in a vast multitude of apartments without proper dining rooms.  That little section off to the side of your kitchen in the living room may be where a glass-topped table sits to collect your mail and magazines, but it is not a dining room.

The Frugal Hostess has a lovely dining room now.  It's the best room in the house.  There is beautiful crown molding and judges' paneling that FruHubs put in and really cool curtains that were super-cheap. There is art on almost every wall (three years later, the same cannot be said for many other rooms), and the furniture is all special.  There are side tables from the old Ritz Carlton in Aspen, lamps from a thrift store in Denver that have been painted and re-shaded several times, and furniture from TFH's grandmother's house.  It is the perfect mix of old and new, although it doesn't feature any modern dining room furniture.  While lovely, that just wouldn't make sense in this 1940s house (although, scratch that; this house is a hot mess of everything everywhere, so don't be fooled into thinking there is a Design Scheme, unless a la Value Village is a new school).

Anywho, despite the delightfulness of the dining room, FruHo 'n them hardly ever eat in there.  They make proclamations about having dinner at the table every night and declare wine off-limits in any other room, but they still don't usually dine in there.  Instead, they set the coffee table with cloth napkins, silverware, and wine glasses and eat while watching Netflix on-demand. 

Tacky, right?  Well, in TFH's defense, Chef FruHubs is a fan of European-style dining, wherein the food is served at approximately 9:00pm each night, so if they didn't watch TV their faces might splash into the entrees.

Where do you eat dinner in your house?  Do you eat out more than you cook at home?  Do you feel guilty about any of it, dining room or eating out or whatever, or is that just The Frugal Hostess and her strange neuroses?  Do tell.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Slow Carb Recipes Tim Ferriss Would Like

The Frugal Hostess, like most women, is on a diet.  Dieting is cheaper than mammoplasty, so that's where she's landed.  In an effort to do the least complicated and simultaneously most effective thing, FruHo is following Tim Ferriss's slow carb diet, as outlined in his book, The 4-Hour Body.  Listen, there's a great chance that this diet, like most diets, is a total load of crap.  But after consuming the equivalent of the Gulf of Mexico in beer, wine, and candy over the holidays, anything is worth trying.

You can find the details through one of those links, but to distill this for you:

meat + beans + vegetables - anything/everything else = fat loss


So, here are some recipes that have turned out to not be all that gross, so far.  They might also be good options for gluten-free diets.

Chicken and Beans in a Bowl: Mexican Edition

One can of pinto beans
1-2 baked chicken breasts(or equivalent amount of thigh meat)

1.  Bake the chicken breasts.  Just put a little olive oil on them and then sprinkle on Everglades seasoning.  (Use salt and pepper if you don't have that.)  Bake for however long you bake chicken breasts (20 minutes? No idea.).
2.  Make refried beans.  Open the can of beans and rinse the slime water off.  Put in a pot with a small amount (like, maybe 1/4 cup) of water and mash the hell out of them as you would mashed potatoes (or ants).  Turn the heat down and let them cook down, adding water if they get too dry.  No need to add oil; they will still taste good like this.
3.  Cut up vegetables.  Try to make your lettuce into thin little strips (chiffonade, anyone?) so you feel like you're eating shredded lettuce at a Mexican restaurant.  (A good portion of this recipe is made up of illusion.)
4.  Mix up everything in a bowl.  Dose with Tabasco.  Eat.  This will make 2-3 meals.



Chicken and Beans in a Bowl: Italian
Use Italian butter beans (Southerners, this is not lima beans, so pay attention!), Bella Sun Luci sun-dried tomatoes from Mooney Farms*, green onions or scallions, and broccoli or spinach or another vegetable.  Do the same thing cooking-wise, except don't mash up the beans.

Chicken and Beans in a Bowl: Thai
Use black beans, cabbage or bok choy, water chestnuts, and a little bit of natural (i.e., just peanuts and salt) peanut butter.  You can either mash or not mash the beans.  Special thanks to FruHubs for inventing this recipe; it has quickly become a favorite.

Chicken and Beans in a Bowl: Cajun
Use canary beans, mustard greens or kale, and onions.  FruHubs made this with some andouille sausage, which TFH did not eat but gave it some extra flavor.

You can also add sauteed peppers and onions to just about any of the variations above with excellent results.

The hardest part about this diet is that you have to eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up, and it can't be something palatable like yogurt or toast.  FruHo doesn't really dig breakfast under the most perfect of circumstances, so, you know, eww.  It took a bit to figure this out, but she has now arrived at the ideal solution for breakfast.  (Long-time readers may remember this from the Eat on 30 challenge.)  Make a batch on Sunday for the whole week.

Fresh Eggs


12 eggs 
Can of white beans (cannelini, great northern, etc.), rinsed
Chicken breast, cooked
Salt and pepper

1.  Separate the eggs, reserving yolks for another purpose.  (TFH beat in three yolks for 12 eggs, to give the mixture some body and flavor.)  You can obviously also use a carton of egg whites for this.  Add a splash of water (makes them more fluffy), and beat until well mixed.  Set aside, in a measuring cup or other container with a spout.
2.  Chop the chicken, onion, and broccoli.  Mix together in a bowl with rinsed can of beans, adding salt and pepper to taste.  You might also want to add some minced garlic, assuming breath is not a major concern for you in the morning.
3.  Grease a 12-muffin tin.  Then, cut circles out of parchment paper and drop them in the holes.  (TFH realizes this sounds stupid but you have to do it or the frittatas won't come out.)  Another option is to take the mini-muffin papers, turn them inside-out, and use those.  You don't want the full-size muffin cups because they take up too much space, eliminate the crust, and are just generally a nuisance.  To recap, put something down there.  You know, in the hole.
4.  Fill each hole about two-thirds full of the veggie-bean-chicken mixture.
5.  Fill the remaining space in each muffin cup with beaten egg.  You'll notice why the spout was suggested.
6.  Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
7.  Once cool, these can be removed from the tin and refrigerated for at least a week.  The Frugal Hostess eats two immediately upon waking, after microwaving them for 30-60 seconds.
8.  Variations could include Canadian bacon, mushrooms, black beans, spinach, etc.  They really are good.

So far, FruHo has lost seven pounds eating this stuff, and she doesn't feel hungry.  However, she CRAVES fruit and cheese.  We shall see.

*Mooney Farms sent a GIANT box of their sun-dried tomato varieties for The Frugal Hostess to taste.  Wasn't that cool of them?  And, get this, they are freaking delicious.  Thanks, Mooney Farms!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Le Fix Learns a New Word - Chiffonade

Remember our old friend Leekfixer?  He's been busy farming and market-managing, but he's back with a new guest post that takes us further into his exploration of French culture.  Please enjoy with FruHo's compliments. Merci.

Le Fix first heard the word "chiffonade" a couple of months ago on one of those tv shows on the Foodie Network. He was busy with his tweetin', tumblrin' and facebookin' so didn't see what they were talking about. He figured it was some kind of fancy pants drink like koolaid or lemonade, probably made in Le France. The other night Le Fix was watching that new show with that blond spikey haired girl who used to be Bataly's sous chef (Le Fix thinks that must be French for sidekick). The show is about a bunch of nitwi .... um,  people who don't know how to boil water and the blond girl is supposed to teach them how to cook. Le Fix wants to know where they find these people, jeez.

Anyway, La blond told her recruits that they had to chiffonade some bok choy or something. Le Fix was looking for the glass and thinking that bok choy probably would need a lot of extra sugar to make a good drink. Then she showed them how to do it. All she did was cut the stuff up into strips. Hell, Le Fix could do that in his sleep! So apparently chiffonade is a fancy pants (probably French) word for cutting up vegetables.

Then Le Fix was doing some twittering after that (he does that a lot) and one of his twitter friends said she was going to chiffonade some collard. Well, Le Fix just about fell out of his barcolounger laughing at that one. She was from New York City so he figured she didn't know any better. Le Fix thought to him self that his father in law (that's FIL in twitspeak in case you were wondering), the collard king, would roll over in his grave if he heard that. FIL is still kickin it old style so you don't have to worry. He twitted back that down here in the land of collards we cook them whole and cut them up in a bowl after they are tender.

learning to chiffonade

So if you are wanting to be a foodie (Le Fix was called a top 100 foodie on, they must have been lookin in the same place they look for people for that tv show La blond is on), instead of telling people you are cutting up vegetables, tell them you are chiffonading them.

Le Fix would love to hear that fancy pants french chef Eric Le Ripper say " je suis making zee chiffonade de la collards si vou plait"

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Monday, January 17, 2011

WMLM Takes on Global Warming

The Frugal Hostess is currently rethinking her entire video strategy for 2011, based on this work of art.  Subscribe on YouTube so you never miss an episode.  (If you're reading in an RSS Reader, you will really want to click through for the full video).

The Frugal Hostess insists that you come hang out on Facebook. What? Like you don't already spend three hours there a day.
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Word "Swap" Sounds Funny

The word "swap" sounds funny.  It carries with it a vague film of slapping and dirt and saliva.  At least, in The Frugal Hostess's mind it does.  However, she still decided to participate in an ornament swap this year.  That kind of ended up being a stupid decision, based the amount of travel she had planned in December (19 out of 31 days, as it turned out).

However, FruHo had designed and planned her contribution before the trip, so it was relatively easy to make them when she started receiving examples in the mail and realized she was WAY behind.  TFH has been a little obsessed with quilling lately.  Quilling is like the sushi of paper crafts -- beautiful no matter how simple.  So, she decided to make these quilled ornaments.

 Here are some of the others she received.

And here is the coolest one of all.

Next year, TFH will be doing something a little more sustainable, maybe using upcycled fabric.  Until then, she'll be wishing she was cool enough to have made that paper star!

(Apologies to those ornaments that didn't get photographed before FruHo lost her camera and thanks to everyone!)

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Ghetto Sledding

Frugal fun in the snow.  This "sled" is the plastic pan from the bottom of a dog kennel.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Visited the Napa Valley.  Missed a mortgage payment.  Gave a keynote speech.  Filmed a TV show.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
At this time last year, FruPa was very, very sick, and TFH's resolution was to never eat, drink, or talk again as long as he got well.  He got well, and FruHo has been eating, drinking, and talking like a champ (so watch your back, FruPa).

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Two old friends had babies and made The Frugal Hostess wish she and her sister were pregnant at the same time. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Maya, the Pie-Making Carpenter's dog, passed away.  Very sad. 

5. What countries did you visit?
USA only.  Which was fun.  But France in 2011!  (Must prepare to emigrate in case Sara Palin is elected in 2012).

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you didn’t have in 2010?
A baby.  A trip to France.  A new blog design.

7. What dates from 2010 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
January (whole month), FruPa sick.  March 5, FruTV.  September 22, the day TFH left for Napa.  November 8-12, Social Media Atlanta.  December 7, CLIA speech.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Going from poor to less poor in 365 days.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Finishing the book.  Maybe this year!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
New Blackberry.  Sorry, Droid, you aren't for FruHo.  And bangs!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
San Francisco Giants!!!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food (ergo, ass)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Travel.  Having never been a fan of traveling in the past, The Frugal Hostess finds herself planning trips during every spare moment now.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Edwin Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, "Home."  Yes, it was released in 2009.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a.) Happier
b.) Slightly thinner.  Like six pounds, maybe.
c.) Richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
None of your beeswax.  Exercise.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Argue with FruHubs.  Peace is the word for 2011.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
California and Florida

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
Yes, with taking pictures of everything in the known world.  Not good pictures, just photographic evidence of every move.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Bones & Modern Family

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read?
Oh good lord.   TFH read more than 100 books this year.  Hard to pick a favorite. 

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The complete innate ability to play oboe with no lessons.  A miracle.

26. What did you want and get?

27. What did you want and not get?
40 pounds weight loss overnight.

28. What was your favorite film of 2010?
The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A lottery win?  Nothing, really.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2010?
The Frugal Hostess finally got some non-thrift clothes and new bras that fit!  Miracles do happen!

32. What kept you sane?

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Oil spill, totally.  What a depressing bunch of crap.

34. Who did you miss?
Liza, for the second half of the year.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
All of the new friends in Napa.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
Karma rules!

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Home is wherever I'm with you." 

[Thanks to Sarawara for the idea and questions for this post.]

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

FruHo's New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!  Hey, are you calling this year Twenty-Eleven or Two Thousand Eleven?  Or something else?  What are the cool kids doing?

Party Hats

The Frugal Hostess probably has the same resolution as every other blogger in the world: to write more and better posts.  She has also made a few extra resolutions, inspired by some of her favorite blogs:
- To post often and to befriend everyone she meets, like Patti from Anatomy of a Dinner Party.

- To always bring the funny, like Jen from Cake Wrecks.

- To stay positive and cheerful, like Becky from Glue and Glitter.  (That doesn't mean FruHo is knocking off the lefty politics, though, so look out.)

- To be incredibly inventive, like Cathe from Just Something I Made.

- To set an example of tolerance and "being the change," like Cop's Wife from Nerdy Apple Bottom.

- And to save money and find the humor in adversity, like Katherine from Save Money You Cheapskate.

Despite having been abandoned for long stretches at a time, this blog has brought more happiness to The Frugal Hostess than you could ever imagine.  Thank you for reading.  The blogs above are also worthy of your eyeballs, so give 'em a visit.
If you write a blog or have a favorite, leave it in the comments.  FruHo just cleaned out her RSS Reader and needs some fresh ideas.

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