Sunday, September 2, 2018

Frugal Femme Mini-Vacation - Part II (The Performance) and Drink Recipes

Hello Everyone!
After driving to Houston we checked in to our hotel in the Museum District with about two hours to spare before when we thought the event started.  (I have since learned, double check the performance times compared to the times on the tickets. We got to the venue a half hour before the times on the tickets and that was when the doors opened, not when the event started.  LOTS of time to kill.)  Where you stay on a mini-break is, maybe, the most important part of the trip.  I like to stay at hotels with room service because I like to be pampered.  It is the splurge part of my vacation.  But I also like to stay at little bed and breakfasts.  It really all depends on the location I am in and what my plans are for most of my vacation.  Since I was planning on going to the Houston Art Museum and spend an entire day there, the following day, and that area is so beautiful and has the metro-rail, we decided that it would be better to have our hotel closer to the museum than to the performance.  It was still close-ish to the venue - being only a fifteen minute drive away.  Yet another reason for loving road trips.  With google maps and smart phones, you have total freedom to go wherever you want because you don't have to rely on public transport.
But I digress....

Back to Dita.
If you have heard anything about Dita von Teese and her events, then you know that her audience is almost as interesting and well dressed as she is - before she starts stripping.  So I broke my packing light rule and brought two possible outfits for the evening.  One was a vintage, Asian dress in royal blue, and the other one was a Bettie Page wiggle dress in teal.  For each I had brought seemed stockings in a color to match the dress.  And by color to match the dress, I mean that the seams matched the color of the dress, the stocking itself was a nude color. 
These are a picture of the blue ones from the What Katie Did website.  They come in all kinds of colors.  I plan on getting the wine red color soon.  I think that I will get a lot of use for them during the Christmas holiday.

And to keep them up, I broke out the retro style corselette - I had to, it was the only way to keep the stockings up. Plus, if there is ever a time to break out your top notch vintage style wear (or underwear) its at a Dita von Teese event.  I ended up deciding on the wiggle dress because I was worried that even though I could stand in the blue dress, I wasn't certain that I could sit in it for more than five minutes without cutting off vital circulation somewhere in my body.  (Side note, I have since lost enough weight that I can now, not only stand in the dress in comfort, but sit in comfort as well.  Yay!!!)
So clothed and ready to go, we set off for the performance.
Yes, I took a picture in front of the sign.  I was one of the first in and have no shame.  Plus, I didn't pay the extra to meet her - which I am so doing next time - so this was the best that I was going to get.
This tour was called the Dita Von Teese Copper Coupe tour.  Now there may be those of you out there, just like me, who had never heard of a coupe before.  Or, also like me, you had heard of it but thought that it was a type of car.
A classic coupe.   Wouldn't you just love to ride in this with a scarf tied around your head, sunglasses on, and windows down?  Talk about glamorous!

(Which it is....... but in regards to this tour, it means a type of cocktail glass that has a shallow bowl with a stem.  Sort of like if a wine glass and a martini glass had a baby.)  Just reference the picture of me with the sign up above and  notice the glass that Ms. Von Teese is in - that is a coupe.

What, you may ask, goes into a coupe?  Well, I am so glad you asked, because I felt the need to research that as well.  One of the most popular drinks to go into a coupe is a Corpse Reviver.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Just for the name alone I think it will now become my drink of choice to serve at Halloween parties.   A Corpse Reviver was a popular drink in the pre-prohibition 30's.  The name came into being because it was supposed to be a hangover cure.  (I am loving this!)  So, I have included  recipes for two types of Corpse Revivers.

Please keep in mind that I have yet to try either of these recipes, but they are on my list of things to try in the near future.

To give you a base line of what goes in a "classic" Corpse Reviver, wikipedia gives this definition:
The plain Corpse Reviver cocktail is a cognac-based cocktail, with two parts cognac, one part Calvados or equivalent apple brandy, and one part sweet vermouth.

Since I love apple brandy, that sounds delicious to me!  As a side note, has anyone seen the apple brandies with the "trapped" apple in the bottle?  Farmers grow apples in their orchards and when the tree starts to bud, they tie a bottle over the bud.  As the fruit grows, it grows inside the bottle.  It really is pretty cool and makes an awesome gift.
This is actually a pear brandy, and its kinda hard to see, but I swear that there is a pear inside that brandy bottle.

But, again I digress.....
Here are the recipes.

Corpse Reviver #1

Picture of a vintage coupe glass.

This first drink was created by Jackson Cannon.  In this version, he substitutes Armagnac for the apple brandy and Calvados instead of Apple Jack, to make this drink a more "top shelf" version of the classic drink.

1 ounce Armagnac
1 ounce Calvados
1 ounce Sweet Vermouth
1 maraschino cherry, for garnish

Fill a pint glass with ice.  Add the Armagnac, Calvados, and Vermouth and stir well.
Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with the cherry.

Corpse Reviver #2

Another vintage coupe glass.

This particular recipe is a classic that was made popular in the 1930, Savoy Cocktail Book, by Harry Craddock.  If its been around that long, its gotta be good, right?  (My husband, the bartender, says that this an old-school, hard-core drink and not to be drunk lightly.  It would cure a hangover, but only because one glass of it would make you drunk again..... or kill you.  If he had to define it in one word, it would be brutal.  So just keep that in mind if you try this drink.)

1 ounce gin
1 ounce Cocchi Americano or Lillet Blanc
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 dash absinthe
Orange peel, for garnish

Shake all ingredients, minus the garnish, in an ice-filled cocktail shaker; strain into a chilled coupe glass.  Garnish with orange peel.

The Copper Coupe show was Amazing!!!

It opened with Dita Von Teese coming out in a gold half shell like Venus coming out of the sea.
I did not take these pictures, and I hope the amazing Ms. Dita doesn't get angry if she finds out that I used these pictures.

The music that was playing was Harry James' Sleepy Lagoon, and she was encrusted in Swarovski crystals and pearls.
(If you want to hear the song, I have included a link below.)

It was so beautiful.  And I was entranced.... until the music started to play.  Sleepy Lagoon was one of my dad's favorite songs and he loved classic pin-up girls, so how much I missed him hit me during this first number as I thought about how much he would have loved to see this.  And then I started to copiously cry.  Still, I loved it, and watching it was like something out of a vintage dream.  It was how I always imagined a strip show would look like based on the cartoons that I watched as a child rather than what you get now in strip clubs.
Don't remember those cartoons?  Well here's a little reminder:
I think this is a Tex Avery cartoon where he spoofs nature documentaries.  This is a lizard shedding its skin.  He had to have filmed an actual burlesque dancer to get these moved down, and this type of elegant stripping is exactly what Dita Von Teese does.

She also did a routine with a giant bubble.   Which, I am fairly certain,  is an homage to Sally Strand, who also did a bubble dance.  Which was another cartoon I remembered as a child. 

Dita's version was actually much more elegant.  A fact that doesn't surprise me since she's had years of ballet training.  But the above picture gives you an idea of what it looked like.
Act 1 was sort of the warm up with acts filled with vintage outfits and big band music.  Act II was a little more hard core with more fetish type segments.  Dita riding an electronic bull that looks like a giant red lipstick is something to behold and was, hands down, my husbands favorite number.  The lipstick that she rode was a Mac lipstick and the details were perfect (in glitter of course).  Right down to the Viva Glam color label on the bottom of the lipstick.  (I have to admit that I was feeling kind of chuffed that I owned that color and wear it on a regular basis.)

Again, I didn't take these pictures.  

I don't care who you are, that is sexy.
I know that I have been gushing about Dita, but the rest of the acts were also fantastic.  I love Dirty Martini!!!  And the audience loved her just as much as they loved Dita.  She is amazing and should be the poster girl for body positivity. 

This lady is sexy as can be and has mad skills!  If you want to see her in action, I think some of her dances are on YouTube and they are absolutely worth checking out.  Unfortunately, I don't think you can find any of her tassel tricks.  Which is a shame.  But in this  tour, one of her routines was done on Dita's famous carousel horse and it was mad, crazy, good.

A Frugal Femme Tip

By the time the show was done, it was already about 11:30 at night. 
I hate trying to find a restaurant in a strange city late at night or, even worse, eating fast food.  So, if I know that I won't be able to catch dinner until late, I pack my own for the hotel.
In the case of this trip, I knew that I was going to be going straight from check-in, to quick change, to performance, so I knew that I wouldn't have time to eat before the show.  So before we left, I planned ahead and made a bed picnic to go.
I have the cutest little picnic basket that looks like a suitcase that I use for all kinds of things.

Usually, it stores my current embroidery project that I am working on - because I like my storage to serve two purposes, but I can also use it for carrying food on trips when I know dinner may be an issue the night we arrive.  This basket I packed separately from the snacks that my husband and I were going to eat in the truck, and it was packed where we couldn't reach it.  That way, there would be no way that we ate our dinner as road snacks.

For dinner I packed:
1 bottle of Cabernet wine (complete with wine cork) and I switched out the mugs that came with the  basket for plastic wine glasses that are part of another wine, picnic basket I own.  (I know, I have a problem, I own a lot of picnic baskets.  I think my total is four.)
Various cheeses
Cotto Salami
Sliced Apples
A couple of cheese knives

I also stashed a couple of yogurts and breakfast bars in the basket and stashed them in the mini fridge so that we would have breakfast on the morning we planned on returning.  (Always make sure to choose a hotel with a mini-fridge in each room.  That way you can store snacks and leftovers.  I don't know about you, but I always get snack hungry in hotel rooms.)

It was the perfect dinner to end an amazing evening!!!  And I enjoyed it so much more than I would have any fast food that we would have been able to find.

Well, that it for this post.  In part three of the mini-vacation post, I will take you to the Houston Museum of Art! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Frugal Femme Mini Vacation - Part I (The Road Trip) and Spicy Bloody Mary Peanuts Recipe

Hello Everyone!
I don't know if you have realized from my blog, but I love vintage things.  I love vintage clothes, cars, housewares, furniture, I just love items that have a history and have a story.  I also think that many vintage items are more glamorous than their counterpoints today.  My favorite eras go from the 20s to the 60s with more of an obsession for the 30s and 40s. 
Thus my love of pin up girls.  They are the epitome of vintage.

I'm not a snob though, if I can't get real vintage, I don't mind getting a retro item that has the same ascetic.  Part of that is because vintage items can be delicate compared to retro items, (I mean they are old) but also they can be way more expensive than retro items as well.
One of the retro "loves" that I have besides clothes, jewelry, and furniture is Dita von Teese.

I don't know who took this picture, but it wasn't me.  Don't you just love this dress?!?!

For those of you who have never heard of Dita von Teese.  She is the current reigning queen of burlesque.  (Which is basically stripping with style and Swarovski crystals in stunningly, gorgeous costumes.) She is also a fashion icon for ladies, like myself, who love the vintage look.

I have been just a little obsessed with her ever since she did a magazine article where she showed off her vintage/retro pink kitchen.
If I were single I would probably do this kitchen.  Although, truthfully, my husband probably wouldn't care to much since the kitchen is sort of my domain.  I think this picture was taken for Lucky magazine.  Because that is the magazine I read religiously before it folded.

When I saw pictures of the kitchen and read the article I thought, this is a woman that I would LOVE to meet.  I also felt the need to get some lady head vases. (Which is something she collects and I thought were adorable and was something I didn't realize existed until this article.) And she gave instructions on how to put your modern red lipstick into a vintage, lipstick tube.

This is a lady head vase.  I keep my make up brushes in two larger ones in my bathroom and I have two mini vases that I keep my small paint brushes in.  I just love the details of the eyelashes and the earrings and bracelets.  The jewelry "real" in that it is a separate part of the vase, meaning the lady "wears" the jewelry the same as you or I would.
I actually have a lipstick tube that looks remarkably like this and, believe me it looks fabulous on a vanity and makes you feel so glamorous when you use it.  Since I can't find the article that Dita was in, I have included a link for Vavoom Vintage  with Brittany who is one of my favorite vintage fashion bloggers, who has a tutorial on how to put your modern lipstick into a vintage case.

And  thus, with just one article to start me off,  I became a Dita fan and became determined to see one of her burlesque shows.
For several years I would try to find one of her tours in a city near me.  And, somehow, I would miss them. 

Been trying to catch one of the variations of this show for years.

She would come to New Orleans, but I would find out the weekend after she came.  You know, that kind of frustrating situation.  Then, one day, I was reading one of the vintage fashion blogs that I love so much ( and she mentioned seeing her Sexcellency in a new tour called the Copper Coupe.  What?!?!?!?!?!  So I immediately went online to find out if I had missed this tour in my area.  I hadn't!!!!  She was going to be in Houston (which really isn't that far from Baton Rouge.)  After squealing and hyperventilating for an inordinate amount of time, I was finally able to talk like a human  and told my husband about the show and we decided that this would be the perfect opportunity (excuse) for us to have a mini-vacation and the tickets were purchased.  And thus the vacation planning began.....
I am the Frugal Femme so, in this series of posts, I am going to give you some ideas on how you can have a mini-break for under $500.  (This amount does not include cost of my tickets for the performance because booking fees are insane!  Who knew booking fees would cost more than the total cost of the tickets?  Yikes!)
Have a drink and think about your mini-vacation.  Don't think about the booking fees.

If you have never had a mini-vacation, I highly recommend them.  They can be far less stressful than a full week long vacation and they are definitely kinder on the pocket book.
I was going to put my whole trip in one blog post, but that started getting rather long, so I have decided that I am going to to break the trip up a little and separate it into two or or three blogs, so this will be part one of my trip.  Don't worry, I promise that I will post again sooner than I did last time.

DAY 1:  Road Trip to Houston or (How to Road Trip on a Budget in Style)

To save on money, and because Nicholas and I actually like them, we decided that we would drive the four hour drive to Houston and not fly.  One of the best things of a road trip, are the road trip snacks.  Now, you can go crazy and purchase anything and everything that your little heart desires in the nearest truck stop/gas station that you can find or you can pack your own snacks.  I can sometimes have a delicate tummy and I am trying to lose five to six inches in my waist, (the better to wear the vintage style clothes I love so much) so I decided to pack us some healthy snacks for the trip instead going down the gas station junk food rabbit hole.
I actually think long and hard about what I pack for snacks on road trips and try to plan them depending on the length of time on the road and where we are heading. But here are some of my favorite road trip snacks/meals:

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches (can't beat a classic - especially when its cut in half for easy eating)
Ham and Cheese Sandwiches (again, its a classic)
Homemade Beef Jerky (I have to time when I make this just right, otherwise my husband and I eat it all before we even start for the trip - we love it that much.)
Envy Apples pre-sliced and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar (Envy apples don't brown, thus they are great for traveling)
Envy Apples pre-sliced and sprinkled with lavender sugar
Bananas (If we leave in the morning.)
Trader Joe's Cereal Bars  (Again for the morning)
Deviled Eggs  (I know this sounds like a strange one, but they're very easy to eat in the car.)
Various pre-sliced cheeses
Pre-sliced salami (The hard cotto-salami)
Baby Carrots
Celery stuff with peanut butter
Celery stuffed with cream cheese and sprinkled with Creole Seasoning
Popcorn (already popped)
Mrs. T's Bloody Mary Mix (I like them in the mini cans and another morning item)
Tea (already brewed and in refillable bottles)
Bloody Mary Spicy Nuts  (These are so good!!!  So much so, that I am sharing a recipe.)

Carole's Bloody Mary Peanuts

I know we're not talking about the same kind of Peanuts, but I couldn't resist.  I love the old Peanuts cartoons where Snoopy is still a puppy and Linus is a toddler.  So I thought this was the perfect opportunity to show some old school Snoopy that I don't think alot of people know even exists.

I loved the Lord Nut Spicy Bloody Mary Peanuts when I first found them at the grocery store.  Then the store stopped carrying them and I couldn't find them anywhere in town.  You can get them on Amazon, but I don't always want to spend the money for that because, very often, you have to buy them in packs of three.  So I came up with this recipe instead based off of things that I like to put into bloody marys they don't taste exactly like the Lord Nut brand, but I promise they are still yummy. 

This is, honestly, a recipe that I never make the same way twice.  Depending on the mood I am in, sometimes I make them more spicy, other times less.  Sometimes more garlic-y and other times with less onion flavor.  What I am saying, is feel free to use this recipe as a template to mix and match your tastes and preferences.  (I know I do.)

2 1/2 - 3 cups peanuts
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. vodka (Totally optional and doesn't effect the taste all that much but makes them feel a little naughty and it is one of the ingredients in a real bloody mary.)
1 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (Can also use hot paprika.)
1-2 tsp. Tobasco sauce or Sriracha hot sauce  (You can use another hot sauce if you prefer, and you can definitely modify the amount per your tastes)
1/2 - 1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
Salt or Zatarain's Creole seasoning, just a pinch (taste before you add this in, if you used salted butter you may not need to add more salt)

1.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2.  In a small sauce pan melt the butter over medium low heat.  Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire, and vodka and whisk to combine.
3.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the butter mixture and whisk to combine. You may add a little butter if it seems a little thick after you have added the spices.  You want this to pour easily and spread over the nuts so you want to have a liquid consistency, not a paste.
4.  Taste the melted butter mixture.  Add more of anything that you want.  If you are worried about spiciness, you can even wait til after you have tasted to add the cayenne pepper.  You can also skip the lemon pepper and add about a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
5. Put the peanuts in a medium large bowl.  Toss the nuts with the butter mixture until they are evenly coated.
6.  Spread the coated nuts onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in an even layer.
7.  Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
8.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.
9.  Store in an air tight container.

Eat and enjoy!
Even puppy Snoopy did the Snoopy dance.

I know that going on road trips is not the most glamorous or luxurious way to travel.  (Personally when I want to luxurious travel, I like to get a room on a train.)  But with some of the tips that I give below, the trip can be much more enjoyable and relaxing.

Tips for Road Tripping

These are not going to include the obvious like making certain that you have a spare tire and checking your car before you head out on the road to make certain your oil has been changed and you have air in your tires.  I am going with the assumption you already do those things before you go on a road trip as they are just the safe things to do.  No, the items listed here are those tips that that I have found make road trips more comfortable and therefore more enjoyable.

1.  Wear comfortable clothes.  (But there's no need to look like a slob.)  
      I always like to wear something that doesn't really have a waist band since I am going to be sitting
      for hours.  I know that sounds strange, but I have cotton overalls - one in black and one in olive
      green that make excellent travelling outfits.  And with a couple of accessories: cute sandals, a
      coordinating hat for when I leave the car, a scarf or a brooch, I can travel in style without losing
      the comfort level you want for a road trip.

     I also like to bring shoes that I can remove easily.  So I can get comfortable if I am not the one

2.  Bring along topics to talk about in the car.
     Yes, I know this sounds weird and some people don't need any help.  Personally, I have my husband
     who is incredible funny and hardly every at a loss for a conversation topic.  But go ahead and bring
     some topics.  Go online or buy one of the table topics games.  You would be surprised what you can
     learn about people that you thought you knew as well as yourself.  Just, take my advice, avoid     
     politics, religion or anything that might start an ugly argument.
3.  Bring along a roll of toilet paper     Most public bathrooms don't have the lovely quilted toilet paper that you're used to.  Go ahead and
     bring that  little comfort from home with you.  It also can be used as a napkin, tissue to blow your
     nose and for cleaning up small spills.  Just trust me - its useful.
4.  If you're not driving, and the trip is more than four hours, bring along a travel pillow and     
     a light throw.
     I actually bring these two items whenever I travel.  I like to sleep on feather pillows, and not every
     place you stay has them, so I bring my own goose feather down travel pillow with its silk pillow
     cover.  I also bring a cashmere throw blanket.  Because I get cold almost anywhere, and this allows
     me to have a little extra warmth.
5.  As covered earlier in this post - bring snacks and beverages.
     Make sure when you load the vehicle, you make these easy to reach.
7.  Bring a couple bags to put trash in.  
     Plastic grocery bags were great.  You want to bring more than one so you can just toss the bag into
     the trash can when you stop at the gas station.  Also, these can be useful if things happen on the road
     or during your trip.
6.  Bring a book on tape.  Try to make it one that interests everyone in the car.
     You can listen it to a book on tape all on your lonesome while other people also listen to their head
     sets, but doesn't that sort of defeat one of the purposes of a road trip?
     Also, if you make a stop a day or two before the trip to your local library, the book won't even cost
     you anything.
     My husband and I love the Dresden file series of books read by James Marsters.  We both like the
     books, as they are very interesting, well written and appealing to both sexes.   Although, I admit
     there is an added bonus or me because I really like James Marsters voice.

Yeah, I know, Buffy was in the 90s.  But I still love it and haven't gotten over it yet, so sue me.
7.  Pack some emergency drugs, just in case.
     And no, I don't mean anything illegal.  But very few things are worse than not feeling well on
     vacation. Some you might consider bringing:
     Pain Medication - Tylenol or Advil
     Pepto Bismol - Pill form is easier to bring with you
     Heart burn medication
     Anti-nausea medication
     Allergy medication
     You don't need a lot of these things, just a little to tide you by while on the road.  Also, you know
     what ails you most so bring what would be most useful to you.
8.  Put your hair up 
     This will help you keep from looking like a street urchin after you have been in the car for hours. 
      But, whatever you do avoid tightly pulled back hair styles such as high pony tails.  These are just
      headache inducing and, almost always, hit the back of the seat just wrong enough so that you have
      to sit in your seat with your head tilted slightly forward and that is not comfortable.
      Instead, opt for a looser hair style that looks cute if a few strands all around your face, make the
      messy hair look work for you. I personally like a loose french twist.

Do these things on your next road trip and I promise it will be more enjoyable.
The next post, which I swear will be soon, will cover the Copper Coupe show and dinner!

I just couldn't resist another puppy Snoopy.  Plus, I feel this is me lately any time I try to watch television.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Fourth of July Fried Egg and Black Garlic Burger

Hello Everyone!
I am all excited because the Fourth of July is tomorrow.

 I love fireworks, swimming at the lake, music by Sousa and, this should a surprise to no one, eating the food!  Although its not the holiday most associated with food, I love to plan an Americana menu to celebrate the day.  And there are so many options to choose from - YUM.  You can grill and do hot dogs and hamburgers with potato salad and coleslaw.  Or you can do fried chicken with mashed potatoes and biscuits. Oooo.  Or ribs with broccoli salad.  The options are delicious and limitless.
As limitless as they are, for this post, I have decided to share a recipe for a hamburger with you.  This recipe was inspired by three things steak and eggs, Bob's Burgers, and McCormick's Black Garlic Powder.  For those of you who don't watch Bob's Burgers there are two things that you need to know: #1.  The show is hysterical and you really should watch it.  #2.  Bob always has a special burger of the day with a pun-ny name.  The burger that I most wanted to try was the Bet It All on Black Garlic burger that was made during season five.  For a person who loves food and garlic I had never heard of black garlic.  So the first thing that I had to do was go online and see if that was a real ingredient -- it was!  The second thing that I had to do was make that burger. 
Fortunately for me, my husband was 100% behind me wanting to make this burger and even got me the cook book so I could have one version of the recipe for us to try.

It was delicious. 

Black garlic is delicious and a taste sensation that I can't describe - but is nothing like you would expect.  Unfortunately, black garlic is expensive and doesn't last long.  If you don't use it almost immediately after opening it goes bad.  And the flavor is strong.  So using it every day for a week was more than I could do - no matter how delicious it was.
Which meant that I was thrilled when I found a black garlic alternative that actually gives the taste of black garlic without the shelf life of black garlic.  McCormick makes a black garlic powder!
I bought this on Amazon for way less what I paid for real black garlic.  I was skeptical, but I started to experiment.  And one of the things that you can make with this that is delicious is black garlic butter.  So I started putting the garlic butter on everything - including the steak and eggs I made for breakfast one morning.  Which then started me to thinking about doing steak and eggs in a more portable version.  And thus, this recipe was born.

Fried Egg and Black Garlic Burger

1 lb ground chuck
1 egg
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup Garlic and Herb bread crumbs
2 tbsp. minced shallot
Creole seasoning, to taste
1 tsp. garlic powder
black pepper, freshly ground to taste
black garlic powder, to taste
2 tbsp.butter
1 egg (per burger)
1 brioche bun, per burger

1.  Prepare the garlic and herb bread crumbs.  There are two ways that you can go about doing this, you can make homemade bread crumbs or you can doctor bread crumbs that you can buy in the store.  Personally, I like to make my own and you can find several recipes to make your own online.  But if you don't have the time or the inclination to make your own, then just put about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of the black garlic powder into 1/4 cup of the store bought prepared breadcrumbs.  Mix together well and taste.  You can add more black garlic powder if you feel the black garlic flavor is not coming through enough.
2.  Put two tablespoons butter into a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until the butter is completely melted, about 10 seconds.  Sprinkle with black garlic powder and stir until the butter and garlic powder are well blended.  Set aside.
2.  In a large bowl combine the ground chuck, 1 egg, Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, shallot, creole seasoning, garlic powder and pepper.  Mix with your hands until everything is completely combined.  If the burger is to wet to hold together, then add more bread crumbs.
3.  Split the meat mixture into four equal portions and form into patties.  Make sure to press the center down with your thumb to create a divot in the center of the burger- this will help the burger to stay flat as it cooks.
4.  Cook the burgers the way you prefer the burgers to be cooked.  They are good cooked on the grill or on a griddle.  I personally like to cook them so that they are medium to medium well and I like to cook them on a grill pan on the stove top so that I can make them in the air conditioning but still have some grill flavor.
5.  While the burgers are cooking, start frying the eggs.  For this burger, I like to cook them sunny side up with a runny yolk.
6.  Once the burgers and eggs are cooked, its time to assemble the burgers!
     First, place the meat patty on the bun.
     Then put the fried egg.
     Drizzle the black garlic butter over the egg and the burger.
Because of the egg yolk and the black garlic butter, you don't really need any other dressings for the burger.  But if you are worried that you need something more or the burger will be dry, then you can always add the black garlic mayo from the Bet It All On Black Burger recipe I pictured above.

Well, that is it for today's post, I hope that y'all have a safe and happy Fourth of July and get the chance to enjoy the burger!

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Great Week! Turkish Inspired Eggs, Enjoying My Outdoor Space and Basil in a Hammock!

Hello Everyone!
So, it turns out that, I love my outdoor space even more than I thought that I would.  In fact, I am typing up this post while lounging in my hammock. 

Listening to my shows on my iPad while working on a blog in my hammock.  Life is good.

I feel so decadent.  And I am definitely going to make some modifications to the decor so that I can use it in the fall and winter.  (I am picturing chunky knit throw blankets, sweater pillows, a chiminea, and hot chocolate in a thermos.  I think that it will be marvelous!) 
Even Basil is getting in on the hammock action.  ( I tried to get Minnie to try it, but she doesn't trust a piece of furniture that sways.)
Isn't he looking great!?!?!  You can't even tell he has a blind eye.

He actually chilled with me on the hammock for quite a while.  I worried about him getting too hot, but this will be great when the weather starts to cool.

Chillin' and relaxin'.

Two things this "temporary" outdoor space has taught me is that I definitely want to be able to have electricity in my permanent outdoor space - if for no other reason than that I would like to have a ceiling fan.  If I could have a constant breeze, it would make lounging so much nicer. 

How awesome is this?!?!  It looks like a closed in space, but if you look closer its all faux walls and doors.  I love this as a thought for the mare permanent structure.

And that I need to spray/seed for ants.  (Something that I need to take care of sooner rather than later before they overrun my oasis.) 
But I'm thrilled to know that I have internet access even this far back in the back yard.  I'm going to watch movies on my kindle outdoors and have come out door meals here once I add a table and chairs - which may be as simple as painting the bistro table and chairs I already have - I'm not really sure as I think the table may be a little large for the space. 

I have actually had a good week last week - and considering the year that I have had- I am going to take that as a win. What has made it good you may be wondering? Well....  I discovered a new, healthy-ish, breakfast that I love and that I am trying to figure out how to make portable so that I can make it at work. (I am including the non-portable recipe in this post.)
The first week of the May Sumo tournament in Japan was last week and the bouts have been pretty interesting and intense.

I found a new anime cartoon that cracks me up called Pop Team Epic.

I captured this image on my phone from Amazon because I want to make a shirt with these two girls.  It will be my second sumo shirt that I can where when I am watching Sumo tournaments.  It just cracks me up that they are doing classic sumo poses here.

My car had to go back into the shop because something was up with the exhaust and I was sounding like a teenage boy without a muffler whenever I would drive - but it ended up being just a couple bolts that fell out and needed to be replaced, so it cost me very little to fix - much better than the over $1000 I had to put in it the beginning of this year - which is why it is going down as a win rather than a problem. 
This is the classic mini logo in Great Britain.  I don't know who to credit, so sorry!

I got to watch a royal wedding - always a plus for me. 

And I found out my place that I buy my specialty flavored olive oils and vinegar - Season to Taste- is moving just down the street from my house.
Huzzah!  This means that I no longer have to plan a special trip to refill my olive oil and vinegar.  I can't tell you how happy that makes me because going there before really was appointment shopping.
These little things all added up to a very good week.

Turkish Inspired Garlic Yogurt Eggs

This recipe was inspired by a classic Turkish breakfast.  I believe that I saw the first recipe for it in my Milkstreet magazine.  But I soon went online to see what the variations on the internet were.  This one from Saveur is one of the ones that sound the best and that I want to try, but I didn't have all the ingredients to do it, and I wanted breakfast NOW.

So I decided that I would improvise.

Even this much simpler variation on the recipe was delicious!!! 
Though I will warn about two things:  If you are used to sweet yogurt, this savory yogurt may come as a shock to you - but I didn't mind that at all, I loved the tang it had with the garlic, butter and egg yolk. The other thing that may get you is that the yogurt was colder than the egg - so I had moments where I was eating hot and cold at the same time.  I didn't care for that.  I think the solution to that problem is just to pull out the yogurt you are going to eat and let it get to room temperature before you eat it. (Most of the research that I did said that you can leave yogurt out of the fridge for up to two hours before you have to worry about harmful bacteria starting to grow.)

2 eggs
1/2 container of single serving plain Greek yogurt (I like Fage)
1-2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. butter
Creole Seasoning (I used Zatarain's)

1.  In a small sauce pan or frying pan melt the butter over low heat.  Add the minced garlic once the butter is melted.  Make sure your heat is about as low as you can get or you will burn your garlic and it will get bitter. Stir frequently.
2.  While the garlic is in the pan on low, bring a pot of water to boil.
3.  Once the water is a rolling boil, carefully add the eggs.
4.  Cook the eggs for 5 minutes.  After they have cooked for five minutes, remove them from the boiling water and place into a cold water or ice bath.  This will prevent the eggs from cooking any further.
5.  Assemble your breakfast:
    --  Put the yogurt in the bottom of the bowl, make a small "nest" with a spoon so that you have a small "bowl" in your yogurt to slide your eggs into.
  --  Carefully crack the eggs and peel them.  You have to be delicate with this or you will break the yolk.  This is not a hard boiled egg or a jammy egg that can take alot of abuse, this is a soft boiled egg and it will be very squishy once you start peeling it and the shell begins to come off.
--  Once unpeeled, place the eggs in the yogurt "bowl".
--  Pour the garlic butter mixture over the egg and the yogurt.
--  Sprinkle with Creole seasoning to your taste. 
6.  Serve with toast for dipping.

Once you break the egg, the egg yolk, butter, garlic and yogurt start to mix.  It is so delicious!

As a bonus for this post, since so many people were enjoying the photos of my hammock outdoor space, I thought that I would share my inspiration photos. I took these from the internet, so these photos are not mine.
I love the rugs and the lights.  Since I didn't have the concrete patio, I only did the lights from this inspiration photo.

I love this hammock and the tiny table.  I feel that my hammock and table look remarkably like this.

This has the fireplace thing and a sitting area.  I think I want to see if I can create this when it starts to get cold.

Loving the baskets, pillows and birdcages in this one.  I also love the straw footstool/poof.  I haven't tried it yet, but I have found instructions how to recreate that poof using an old tire and rope.  Its on my list of things to do.  I'll let y'all know if works. :-)
I have added a throw rug since I took this picture.  I pick it up when I am not using the space because I don't want to kill the grass.

So, what do you think, did I channel my inspiration photos?

Well, that is it for this post.  Hope to post again very soon!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day - My New Outdoor "Room"

Hello Everyone!
And Happy Mother's Day to those of you who are mothers!

When you are living in an apartment and planning on getting a home, there are things that you dream for yourself when you get your house.  They are different for everyone and vary widely from place to place and person to person but everyone has those dreams. 
Some of my dreams for my dream house, in no particular order, were:
Have a kitchen with a double oven - bonus if the oven is stainless steel or vintage/retro.
Have a kitchen with a gas stove - see above for the bonus
Have a wrap-around porch which will be decorated in a shabby chic style (I have this decorated in my mind down to the rug painted on the porch floor.)
Have a yard with enough space for an herb garden. (DONE)

Have a yard with an outdoor room/area to read in.
Have a living room with fireplace. (DONE)

Have a house with an entertaining area. (DONE)

Have a house with enough space for a craft room. (DONE) - don't have any pictures yet.

When I got my house, many of the items on this list were accomplished.  Some are on the back burner waiting to happen, and some will not happen with the house that I currently own. (Bye bye wrap around porch.)  Ironically, considering how much I love to cook, the kitchen items are on hiatus until I have the funds to do a kitchen make-over so no double oven or gas stove for me yet, but it will happen. 
This is a real, WORKING, vintage stove/oven.  Isn't it gorgeous?!?!?!?  Oh, how a girl can dream.

But, today, I got an one of the items on my list that I have been wanting for over a decade.  I got my outdoor reading place and I got my hammock!!!!

Now, to be fair, the outdoor area that my husband and I want is a little more permanent than what I currently have.  But, I decided that I would rather wait with a temporary soluction that was going to work almost as well as something more permanent, than wait with nothing at all. 

So, since this was not to be the permanent outdoor space solution,  I went on a Frugal Femme quest...... to try to make a beautiful and comfortable outdoor area without spending more than $300 for the whole kit and kaboodle.  And I mean EVERYTHING - furniture, lighting, decor - all of it, for $300 or, preferably, less.  Not an easy task and, I will admit, some of my friends told me that it couldn't be done.  But, with a little help from my neighbors, friends, and my tendency to not throw away things on the off chance that I can use them for something else, I have managed to do it!

I have an outdoor rug that I am thinking about adding to the space because the grass in this area is so worn out.  I don't know though, I don't want a whole area of dead grass where the rug would be either.
Here is a breakdown of everthing you see in the pictures and how much it cost.

Gazebo tent -  $70  - got for $40 because I had Ebay bucks and purchased it on Ebay.

Hammock - $140 - this was my big ticket item, and I could have gotten it for less if I was willing to go with an uglier hammock - I wasn't.

Lights - $10  (five dollars a strand and battery operated - batteries cost me nothing - I have AA battery source) I had to do battery operated so I didn't have to worry about trying to run extension cords to the farthest reaches of my yard.

Mosquito Netting - $20 I got two panels for $10.  The gazebo/tent was small enough that I could cut one panel in half, making four panels out of the two panel packet, so that I only needed to get two packages containing four total panels, and I still have one panel left over if I ever need to replace a curtain.  I can close these to keep away mosquitoes, but they still allow a breeze to go through.  
Shower curtain rings - $17
Table - $5  The base is a plant holder that my neighbor gave me because she was getting rid of it.  I cleaned it up, painted it red, and turned a round serving tray into the table top - more on how I did that a little further along in this post.

Plant Stand - $0  This was a bird bath in its first life.  And the whole things was $60,  But, about a year and a half ago my frenchie Basil accidentally ran into it, knocked down the vessel part of the bird bath,  and shattered it, leaving only the base behind in his wake.  This year my husband and I decided we were going to get a different kind of bird bath, but I decided the base was too pretty to throw away- thus its new life as a plant stand.

Plant - $0  This was another gift from my neighbor.  A store was clearing them out for $5 and she purchased more than she needed, so I adopted one.  I think I'm going to call him Iggy.
Pillows - $0 These are not outdoor pillows, they are pillows that I made about seven years ago for the bedroom when my husband and I were still living in our apartment.  They got demoted to a closet as pillows to use for filler pillows but worked perfect for the hammock.  They will be put in the basket and put away when not in use so that they outdoor weather does not destroy them. (I do have a Frugal Femme idea for outdoor pillows.  I have to try it and see how it works.  If it turns out well, I am going to share the idea with y'all - but I'm trying to figure out a way to make outdoor pillows for about $.99.  I have the outside all figured out, its the filling that I am still working on.)

Hanging Star - $0  This was in a box of Christmas decorations that were going to be thrown away where I work.  I glued, rewove, and spray painted, with spray paint I already had on hand, and it now gives my tent a slightly Moroccan flair.

Scarf/Blanket - $5  I already had this scarf, so technically it can go in the freebie column, but I purchased it with the idea that I would use it for this purpose, so I am including it on the list.

White and Aqua Tray - $0  This was a silver plated tray that I already owned, in fact, I think I did a Frugal Femme showing how I painted it and brought it back to life. If not, I will be posting that shortly.

Bird cage and ceramic birds - $15  These were on clearance at Michael's and I love them.
Its hard to see in this picture, but the tray under the birdcage is white on top and aqua on the bottom.

Buddha Statue - $0  Yes, I purchased it.  And I got it at Marshall's for $20, I think.  But I purchased it over two years ago and I use it all around the house, so he wasn't purchased for this project and I am not including him in the cost.

Basket and Crate - $25 The crate and basket both I had in my craft room, the bottom of the crate is falling apart, so I don't mind losing it to the outdoor gods.  The basket is storage for all of the items that I think will disintegrate outdoors and gets stored indoors when it is not in use.

So, if I am doing my math correctly, the project came in, under budget at $267 total!  Even if I had not had the Ebay bucks for the tent, I would have come under budget at $297.00.  Booyah!!!!  Now that's what I call a Frugal Femme project!

Will I add more items later?  Probably.  I might add a chair or two in the back corner so that more than one person can be using the area at a time.  But, fortunately for me, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I don't think there will be a need for that chair any time soon.  Why you may ask?  Well, its because I live in Louisiana and I have already passed the ten whole days of spring where it is bearable to be outdoors.  We are already into the super hot weather - and its not even June yet.  Which means that I have to live through June, July, August, September, and part of October before it will get comfortable enough to have the room again.  But oh do I have plans!!!!
One good thing about this not being a more permanent structure is that my husband and I can move it around the yard to see where we would like to place our permanent structure the most.  We may put it under the crepe myrtle and see if we like that better than the back corner of the back yard where it is currently.

My husband building the gazebo/tent by the crepe myrtle.

Also, I so want to change things up with the season, just like I do in my house, so I so want to decorate it for Halloween and Christmas! I will of course post pictures and all of the items will probably be things that I have refurbished or re-purposed for their outdoor use.
Speaking of refurbished, here is how I turned a plant stand into an accent table.

Bird Accent Table

I got this idea from some mid-century accent tables that I just love.  I couldn't afford them, so I thought that I would see if I could get the look by re-purposing an item.  
Here are some of my inspiration pictures:

And this is what I came up with.

Items Needed
1 Plant Stand (mine was given to me, but look at yard sales for good prices for these)
Spray Paint (I already had red on hand - I also prefer mine to be shiny rather than matte)
Round Serving tray, metal - mine was 11.5 inches in diameter, yours will depend on the plant stand)
Acrylic Oaint (Actually, chalk paint would be better, but I was using what I had on hand)
Acylic Sealer (Clear) - I use Dura-Clear Satin Varnish
Paint Brush
1 relaxation coloring book/coloring page
colored pencils

1.  Find a relaxation coloring page that will fit in the round tray that you are using as your table top.  (I actually had one that I already colored.  My husband had given me a relaxation coloring book for Christmas a couple years ago and one of the pages just happened to work perfectly, but you can go online and find a blank coloring page that you would like and print it - which would be far cheaper than buying a coloring book. Color the picture whatever colors you think will go for your table.
2.  Prepare the tray for painting.  Using fine grain sandpaper, sand the areas of the tray that you want to paint.  This may be the entire tray or, you may do as I decided to do, and just paint part of the tray and leave the rest alone.  For my tray, I decided that I liked the silver rim bordering the pattern on the inside so I only painted the inside of the tray.
3.  Using a large-ish, soft bristled paint brush, paint your tray.  Make certain that you let the coats dry thoroughly before putting on another coat.  You may have to do several coats if you use plain acrylic paint rather than chalk paint.  (I had to do about five coats.)
4.  Once the paint has dried, line up your coloring page to see how you would like to lay it out on your tray. 
5.  Cut out the design.
6.  Using a large-ish, soft bristled paint brush, apply a coat of sealer/varnish to the painted areas of your tray.
7.  While the varnish is still tacky to the touch, put down the coloring page pictures in the design of your choosing on the tray.  Gently smooth onto the tray with your fingertips, making certain to eliminate any air bubbles.
8.  After the sealer/varnish has dried completely, add another another coat to the painted parts of your tray, making certain to also cover the coloring pages as well.  This will seal the paper to the tray even better and will make it so that you can put drinks, and other items on the tray without damaging the paper.
9.  Put at least three coats of sealer on the painted/colored parts of the tray, making certain to let each coat dry before continuing.
10.  Between any of your drying coats, you can spray paint the planter.  I actually paint one coat on the tray and, while that is drying, go and spray paint the planter.  I did this once a day for almost a week because I wanted to make certain that my paint was dry.
11.  Insert the tray into the planter. 
12.  You can glue down the tray to the planter if that is your choice.  It will prevent the tray from moving and causing any accidents or spills.  I decided to not glue down my tray.  This way, I can remove the tray from the stand, clean it by hand in the kitchen sink, and then put it back in the stand.

And then lean back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

You can't see it in this picture, but I have a nice, cold tea on the little table beside me.

My view while in the hammock.

Well, I think that's it for this post.  I am working on some other craft things at the moment that, I hope, I will be finished with soon and can share with you shortly.  I also have some recipes that I want to share, but I need to remember to take pictures while I cook.  That's not as easy as it sounds.  So keep checking back with me as I should have something up again this week! Also, I leave you with some pictures of my outdoor room at night.

Doesn't this just scream relaxing with a book and an adult beverage?  I'm so happy!