Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bat Wings Recipe (aka Buffalo Wings Recipe) and some more easy decorating ideas for indoors and outdoors

Hello Everyone!
I am a day behind on my posts as this was the post as this was the posting that I wanted to do yesterday.  However, as so often happens when you are helping to plan an event, I ran out of time to do everything I wanted to do in a day.  What was the event that put me behind you may ask?  The theatre where I work is doing a production of Rocky Horror and, last night, we threw a party with the cast for those who purchased tickets.  After that, we did a midnight run of the show.
At the party, I served the dish that I am going to show you how to make today.  For those who were brave enough to eat it, it was hit.  But these buffalo wings are not for the faint of heart.  Because of their color, they look like they are scorched.  But they are not!  They are wonderfully juicy and tender.

I am really sort of addicted to this whole scene.  I really have to find this movie and watch this.

To do these correctly, you should use a package of just chicken wings and then they will really look like bat wings rather than blackened buffalo wings, but I found a bag of over 60 wings at Costco and, since I was feeding alot of people, I went the more affordable route rather than the artistic route,

Bat Wings

I know, they look like they would taste terrible.  They are very good.

3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning
1/2 package Zesty Italian Dressing Mix
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
20 chicken wings
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup hot pepper sauce (I use Louisiana Hot Sauce, but you use what you like)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp. Hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp black food gel (more if your sauce does not get black)

1,  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and heavily grease with cooking spray.

2.  Place the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt, Zesty Italian Dressing Mix and freshly ground pepper into a resealable plastic bag and shake to mix.

3.  Add the chicken wings, about three or four at a time and toss until well coated with the flour mixture.  Place the wings onto the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat this for the rest of the chicken.

4.  Once all the chicken is coated and on the baking sheet, place in the refrigerator and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
You can see how the flour has sort of gelled itself to the chicken

5.  After an hour has passed, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
6.  In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the butter, pepper sauce, worcestershire, hoisin sauce and black food gel.
7.  Dip the wings into the sauce mixture and place back on the baking sheet.
At the top, I made a batch of wings without the food dye so that you could see the difference.  They are the same recipe, one just looks more terrifying.

 (You will probably want to wear rubber gloves for this part.  I did not and I am still trying to get black dye out from under my nails.)

8.  Bake in the oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 45 minutes.
9.  Turn the wings over halfway during cooking so they cook evenly.

To serve, remove from oven and serve with Ranch Dressing or Blue Cheese Dressing, whichever is your preference.

So that was yesterday's post.

Today, I was going to show you how to make some outside decorations for the house.  I am no longer an 18 year old, however, and staying up until 3:30am finally pushed my body over the edge and allowed the illness that I have been fending off from my husband to win. 
Here is me in my Wonder Woman costume inspired by the outfit she had in 2005 when they re-imaged her look and they put her in pants.

So I woke up this morning ill and with strict instructions from my husband that I was to do as little as possible.
While I rested, my darling husband decorated the outside of our house.  So I don't have the craft project that I wanted to show you, but I do have some inspirational photos for decorating the outside of your home and one that you can use indoors.

Mouse Guardians on the Roof

I found some rubber rats that were $1.00 each at the dollar store.  I snapped up a dozen and told my husband I wanted to put them up on our roof so that we would like we were infested with them.  He put some up on the corners of our house and then stashed some around the front porch.

They look like two little rat gargoyles guarding my driveway.

Why is when you back light something it automatically makes it look creepier?


These are really a staple and a little goes a long way in Halloween decorating.  I bought two bags this year for two for $4.00 and we didn't even need to open the second bag.  So, we are saving that for next year and it is one less thing we have to worry about picking up.

In this picture you can see the cobwebs and you can sort of see the spooky lights we put in the bushes,

Right before Halloween I add the cobwebs and the eerie lights.  It helps to make actual Halloween a little more fun and special.

Hang cobwebs from anything you can think of, lamps, tables, fireplace mantles.  Just make certain, if you have pets, that you keep it out of their reach.

Creepy Lights and Creepy Crawlies

Ask any movie director and they will tell you that lighting sets the mood.  Get some Halloween lights and put them up in yard with cobwebs.  Instant spooky!
This is an ornamental pepper that I found at the Farmers Market.  I love the black leaves.  I thought it just looked super scary.  I was going to put some orange mums in with them, but never got the chance.  The double bonus is that the farmer that sold these to me assured me that the peppers were edible.

My husband added some rubber rats and snakes in with the ornamental pepper.

Sheets Over Furniture

This is one of the easiest things you can do to decorate.  Especially if you already own white sheets and tablecloths.  Drape them over your furniture, add some cobwebs and you instantly have an area that looks like an abandoned haunted house.

This is a picture from the theatre.  I put some white sheets over the chairs, a black tablecloth over the table and added cobwebs to the candlesticks and the mirror.  Dim the lights and add some battery operated candles to the candle holders and it sudden turns a little eerie,

So, I hope that you can use some of these ideas!  And, after Monday, we can start focusing on Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Halloween Costumes from Your Closet

Hello Everyone!
Halloween is Monday and the week-end, Halloween weekend, is upon us.  If you are like many people, you have suddenly discovered or just been talked into a costume party/function and have realized that you have no costume to wear.  Never fear, you don't have to go out and buy one.

If you are like me, buying an outfit that you will only wear once in your life is not a savvy decision and Halloween practically dictates that you do this.  Over the years I have found that many costumes can be created by using items you may already have in your closet - the secret is in choosing the right accessories and hair styles.  The great thing about shopping for a costume in your closet is that it costs you nothing!

Here are some of my favorites:

Rosie the Riveter

Items you will need:
1 chambray shirt
1 red bandanna (if it has white polka dots, even better)
1 pair of jeans  (High waisted are the best but any jeans will work.)
brown leather work boots or brown leather brogues
Brown leather belt
Red ankle socks
Red lipstick

If you can get the blues in your shirt and jeans to match, then
you really have the look going for you!

If you don't have work boots, then oxfords such as these
are a great option.

How to assemble:
1.  Roll up the sleeves of the chambray shirt so that they hit the mid upper arm area and tuck the shirt into the jeans.
2.  Roll up the jean legs so that they are ankle length.  This will show off the snazzy red socks or the work boots.
3.  Put on the brown leather belt.
4.  Roll your hair into victory rolls and cover with the bandanna.
5.  Put on makeup making sure not to forget the red lipstick.

If you don't know how to make victory rolls, there are several tutorials online and on YouTube.

Farmer Theadora

You can wear overalls this short, but I suggest going with longer pants.

Items you will need:
1 flannel shirt
1 pair of overalls (You can do a pair of jeans, but overalls look better.)
1 cotton bandanna
1 pair of leather ankle boots
1 straw hat (optional, this is only if you have hats)

I will admit, these are more likely to be
in your closet if you are a child of the 90's.

How to assemble:
1.  Put the overalls over the flannel shirt.
2.  Fold the bandanna corner to corner so that the bandanna forms the shape of a triangle.  Starting from the opposite the bottom of the triangle, roll the bandanna so that it forms one long "ribbon".  Tie the bandanna around your neck and knot into place.
3.  Finish off with the boots and straw hat.
4.  If you do not have the hat, put your hair up into a ponytail or leave down and pull back with a headband.

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly

Items you will need:
1 Little Black Dress
1 long strand of pearls
1 pair of black pumps

How to Assemble:
This is possibly the easiest of the costumes if you have long hair.  The secret to getting this look correct  is to get the hairdo right.  If you get that, the rest sort of falls into place.

1.  Put on the dress.  It is best if the dress is a knee length sheath dress but almost any simply black dress will work.
2.  Wrap the pearls around your neck twice and pull snugly to your neck creating a "choker" leave the rest of the pearls do dangle down.  If your strand of pearls is not long enough to do this, then try getting the same effect with two strands of pearls.
3.  Put up your hair in the classic Holly Golightly do.

     Here is a video that shows you how to recreate the classic hair do.

(Skip the tiara part of this.  Holly wore a little hair tiara which is hard to find, so just go without the tiara.)

Donna Reed or 50's Housewife

Items you will need:
1 button down shirt (preferable white)
1 full skirt or circle skirt (preferable knee length or mid-calf length-you can also use a penil skirt if you don't have a full or circle skirt)
1 wide belt
Apron (optional - I am aware that most people don't own them)
1 pair of leather pumps
1 Strand of pearls
1 fifties style hair do of your choice

How to Assemble
1.  Roll the sleeves of the button down shirt until they are at the elbow.
2.  Tuck the shirt into the skirt and cover the waistband of the shirt with the wide belt.
3.  Put on the pearls
4.  Fix your hair in a 50's style hair do.
5.  Finish your make-up with red lipstick.

So, there you have it ladies!  Some last minute costume ideas for Halloween that you can pull from your own closet.
Hope you enjoy or found some inspriration.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

How to Make Vampire Repellent -- Otherwise known as Roasted Garlic Soup

Hello Everyone!
Halloween is approaching and one has to start thinking about preparing for the dead or undead that come to earth on Halloween night to prey upon unsuspecting mortals.

I don't know what film this is from, but I want to be this bat girl some Halloween.  (If I ever get brave enough to wear something that clingy.)

To help in this endeavor, I have the perfect recipe to put into your vampire survival kit.

Supposedly, this is a 19th century vampire kit.  I think that I am going to stick with the soup.

Roasted Garlic Soup

This recipe is delicious and is one of my husband's favorites.  I know that it sounds frightening- eating a soup whose main ingredient is garlic, but roasting the garlic really mellows the garlic flavor.  This recipe is different from the recipes that I usually post because it makes ALOT.  We usually get three meals out of it.  The good news is, this soup freezes and reheats really well, so it is a very good soup to make ahead of time, freeze in individual portions, and then have for lunch during the week.  Or to save for those times when you are sick and just want a good soup to heat up in the microwave.
This soup does have a few more steps than some of your other soups, but it is well worth the extra steps.  Sorry that I don't have pictures - I forgot to be a camera man while I was cooking.

4 whole heads of garlic
3 tbsp. olive oil, (I have a Tuscan Herb Olive Oil that I love to use for this recipe, but regular is fine too.)
6 tbsp. butter (Use real butter, margarine will not taste right.)
1 cup onions, chopped  (You can actually do 2 medium onions if you REALLY like onion, but this is not for the timid.)
Creole seasoning (1 tsp or to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (2 tsp. if you are using dried thyme)
1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-2 tsp. dried dill, separated  (I really like dill, so I use 2 tsp. but 1 tsp still tastes delicious.)
8 cups homemade chicken broth,  (if you don't have homemade, use a low-sodium chicken broth)
1 cup heavy cream, warmed

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a small baking sheet with foil.  (This makes for easier cleanup, the recipe will work just as well if you use a non-stick baking pan with no foil.)
2.  Cut 1/4 inch off the top of each garlic head.  (You want to cut it so that each clove of garlic has been cut at the very top.)  Place the garlic with the cut side up on the baking sheet.  Drizzle the olive on top of each garlic head.
3.  Put in the oven and roast until softened, about 45 minutes. 
4.  Remove from oven and let the garlic cool.  You want the garlic to be cool enough for you to handle.  (This usually takes about 15 minutes.  While you are waiting for the garlic to cool, you can be prepping your onions.)  Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the soft, roasted, pulp into a small bowl and put aside for later.  (There is no trick to this. Simply grab the garlic head at the bottom and squeeze.  The roasted garlic will come out looking like a paste.)
5. Over medium-high heat, melt butter in large, heavy bottomed pot  (I prefer a ceramic coated cast iron dutch oven.) Add the onions, 1 tsp. each Creole seasoning, freshly ground black pepper and dill (Use only 1/2 tsp. of dill if you are using a total of 1 tsp. dill.) and saute until the onions have softened - about four minutes.
6.  Stir in thyme and reserved roasted garlic.
7.  Sprinkle in the flour, stirring while you sprinkle.  Cook for about one minute.  Stir constantly to incorporate the flour and make certain the flour doesn't scorch.
8.  Slowly pour in broth, stirring constantly while pouring.
9.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Boil rapidly, stirring frequently, until soup has thickened slightly - about ten (10) minutes.
10.  Take off the heat and let cool slightly.  (This step is very important.  DO NOT SKIP IT!)
11.  Working in batches, which I am forced to do because I use a Magic Bullet single serving blender, but which you should do even if using a large blender that all the soup will fit in to, puree soup.  You want to puree until the soup looks creamy and slightly frothy.
12.  Pour your pureed batches into a large bowl or pot.  
13.  Once all the soup has been pureed, return the soup to the large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
14.  Add cream, season with creole seasoning, pepper and remaining teaspoon dill (half tsp. dill if only using one teaspoon dill in total).  Stir until mixed into the soup.

Serve and enjoy!  

 NOTE:  You can garnish this soup with many things as the mild garlic flavor blends well with several ingredients.
Some of our favorite garnishes are:
grated cheddar cheese
bacon bits
A dash of hot pepper sauce

If you want to save in individual servings and freeze, make sure to cool the soup before you put them into containers and into the freezer.  This will help ice crystals from forming and will keep your soup creamy when you reheat it.

You can also serve it in pumpkin bowls like in this picture:

I have never tried this, so I don't know if the pumpkin bowl effects the taste of the soup but the presentation is AWESOME!!!  I like to give credit where credit is deserved, so here is a link to the recipe that goes with this picture:

I have not made this, but it sounds like it might be delicious.  And it would be sure to impress at dinner parties.  I think any item that you call a bisque ups the elegance factor.

In the next few posts I am going to give some decorating ideas to those people who waited 'til the last minute to decorate for Halloween and have realized that all of the stores are done with Halloween and have moved on to Christmas.  Don't worry, I have some ideas for you that don't involve Halloween specific items that you can turn into something spooky with just some paper and glue.  I will also be posting some ideas for last minute costumes and putting together some lists for some Halloween binge watching.

I am also in the process of making a Halloween playlist.  Do you have any songs that you like to play during Halloween?  If you do, let me know and they may make my Halloween playlist!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie -- Its not as SCARY as it sounds. I PROMISE!

Hello Everyone!
It's probably pretty obvious right now, but I love fall.  I'm sort of a walking cliche.  I want to wear the big, bulky sweaters, scarves and boots.  I want to drink pumpkin spice lattes and hot apple ciders.  But, until just about a week ago, the temperature where I lived was in the nineties.  So no sweaters, no boots, and no hot beverages.  In an attempt to appease my pumpkin spice latte addiction, I thought that I would try to come up with a pumpkin pie smoothie recipe.

Why don't they decorate spices like this anymore?  It would make your spice cabinet look so much more interesting!

I would like to say that this was my genius brainstorm, but the truth is I saw an e-mail from Bon Appetit that contained a recipe for a pumpkin smoothie.
Unfortunately, I did not like their recipe.  And when I went to look for other recipes online I wasn't crazy about their recipes either.  Some recipes asked for banana, or put in ice.  Yuck.  The only one that I found that sounded delicious was the recipe from the Pioneer Woman, but her recipe was for eight servings and I am just one person.   (I thought that you might like to try it, so I have put the link in this blog.)

So, to the drawing board I went.  I even asked one of my friends, who works in a smoothie shop, what he thought of my ingredients and whether it would make a good smoothie.  He gave me some pointers and then it was off to experiment!  After a few tries, this was the recipe that I liked the most.

For those of you who are leery of a pumpkin pie smoothie, I have this tale to tell.  My husband was disgusted by the idea when I told him what I wanted to try this week-end.  For this reason, I only let him sample my final project.  Which he STILL looked on with distaste.  But, he loves me, so he tried it.  HE LOVED IT!  He says that he could easily drink this in the morning and he also believes that it could be served as a desert and no one would be upset.  (So long as they liked pumpkin.)  The moral of the story is, don't be afraid to try this, it is really yummy.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1/4 serving pumpkin, from 15 ounce can (Please note that this is a serving, not 1/4 cup)
1/4 - 1/2 cup Vanilla Almond Milk (I like to do 1/4 cup because I like a thicker smoothie)
1/4 - 1/2 cup Vanilla Honey Greek Yogurt  (I do slightly less than half a cup), you can also use regular vanilla yogurt
1/4 tsp. - 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon (This all depends on how much you love cinnamon.  1/2 tsp. can be ALOT, so try small and work your way up 
Nutmeg, a pinch.  Seriously, you do not need a lot here, I just sprinkle mine on.
Ginger, dusting  (Just sprinkle this on.  A little goes a LONG way.)
1 tsp. Maple Syrup (Optional)  can do more if you would like it sweeter (Also, I use real maple syrup, not maple flavored syrup.
Graham Crackers (Cinnamon or Regular), crushed 

*NOTE*  You can substitute pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

Please keep in mind that all of these ingredient amounts are relative to personal taste.  You may want to add more cinnamon, or more almond milk -  if you want your smoothie to be thinner.  One of the things that I love about smoothies is that they are so organic when you make them.  I, literally, never measure anything when I make a smoothie.  (I did when I made this, so I could let y'all know the measurements and it was weird!) So do what you think will taste good - I have just put these measurements as guidelines.

1.  Separate a 15 ounce can of pure pumpkin puree into four equal parts.  (You can measure it, but I just eyeball it.)  Put each part into a freezer bag.  

This is the pumpkin.  I know that it looks like some sort of Oompa Loompa shaded chicken breast, and is not very yummy looking but, trust me, it gets better.

As you can see by the picture, I took each quarter and put it into sandwich bags and put all of those into a gallon freezer bag.)
Put into the freezer and freeze overnight.
2.  Once your pumpkin is frozen, you can now make smoothies.  Take one packet of the pumpkin and put it in a single serve blender.  (I like to use the bullet and use the cup container with a handle.) 
3.  Add the yogurt and the almond milk.
4.  Add your spices and maple syrup.

Still sort of horrifying, I know.  But it will get better!

5.  Blend all of the ingredients together until the frozen pumpkin has been completely incorporated into the beverage.  

Once it is done it should be creamy and wonderful.
6.  You can add the crushed graham crackers if you want.  Or you can just drink it plain.  Whatever suits your fancy!

How easy is that?!?!?!  It tastes like pumpkin pie and you didn't have to wait for it to bake!

I'm not done with Halloween yet.  Soon I will be posting some inexpensive, but scary, ways to decorate the outside of the house for the Halloween holiday and I will be adding some more recipes. Plus, I will have pictures of my adorable pooches in their Halloween costumes.   Its a Halloween boo-fet (pronounced boofay) of goodies on the Frugal Femme which I hope you enjoy!

"Mommy, why don't I get to wear a costume?"

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Edgar Allen Poe Raven Pumpkin

Hello Everyone!
It is time, yet again, for another Halloween craft post.
I know its not the first thing that you look at when you see this picture, but look at her shoes!  Those are just the cutest little witches shoes with the turned up toes!!!

As I am sure that I have mentioned, I live in Louisiana.  That means that, even in October, when temperatures are supposed to be dropping and leaves should be falling, the temperatures remain impossibly hot and everything is still green.  While this is a great thing for my herb garden, it is not a great thing for carving pumpkins.  Carving a real pumpkin in Louisiana is something that almost has to be done the day of Halloween or it will be spoiled and rotten before the trick-or-treaters ever arrive on your doorstep.  I love to carve pumpkins.  But I also love to carve very elaborate pumpkins that take me hours to do and I hate to see all my hard work rot after just a day.  Which is why I have started to invest in foam pumpkins and have decorated them in a variety of styles.
The fantastic thing about foam pumpkins as a frugal option is that they do not rot and you can reuse them year after year.  Usually hobby stores have them on sale for about half off during Halloween and, if they don't, that is what half off on any regular priced item coupons are kept for.
Today I will be showing how to make a pumpkin that is designed more for inside your house than outside on your doorstep.  It is very easy to do but, unlike some of my previous craft projects I have shown you so far, this one will take a little bit of skill to do.

Edgar Allen Poe Raven Pumpkin

I love the little paper mice that I put behind the pumpkin!  I think it just gives it that added spookiness.

1 white foam pumpkin (I used a white/cream Funkin pumpkin.)
1 black calligraphy marker
1 pencil
Painters tape(Can also use string or rubber band if don't have painters tape)
1 fake crow/raven  (I got mine from the dollar store.)

1.  Find a copy of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven and put the poem where you can easily see it.  You will use this for reference.  (Unless you have the poem memorized.  In which case kudos to you!)
2.  Take your pumpkin and, depending on the size of pumpkin that you have chosen to decorate, and wrap the painters tape around the pumpkin.  The top and bottom of the tape will be the height of your letters, so space the tape appropriately.
I know this pumpkin is orange, but I had actually done the Poe Raven Pumpkin last year before I started the blog.  (And, to be truthful, I didn't draw lines because I can write in a very straight line free hand.)  This pumpkin is what I had this year and is my craft that I am working on for this Halloween.  Hopefully, I will finish it in time and be able to show you the completed project.

3.  Lightly draw lines around the pumpkin going along the edges of the painters tape using an erasable pencil.  Do not press too hard!!!  If you do, you will have a permanent line impression on your pumpkin even after you erase the lines.  The width of your lines is up to you.  I find it easy to just do this width of the tape (about one inch) as this is easy for me to see and trace.  This will be the guideline for your letters.
4.  Once the lines are drawn remove the tape.  Using a calligraphy pen write down as much of the poem as will fit on your pumpkin.
If you get a calligraphy marker like this, it will be easier for you to write on the pumpkin.  I have tried using a regular calligraphy pen, and the ink doesn't dry quick enough.

Again, this depends on the size of both your pumpkin and the size letters that you want to use.  This is where the "skill" comes in as you will want to make certain that you handwriting is legible.  The good news is, if you hold the calligraphy pen correctly, it will do most of the work for you in making the letters look good.

I tried to show you how to hold the marker, but I'm not sure how clear it turned out.  You want to hold the marker so that the flat side of the nib is the one that is on the paper most of the time.

(If you have never used a calligraphy marker before, it is best to practice a little on a piece of paper before writing on the pumpkin.)

Here are a few samples of the styles that you can do.  One is a more standard, Gothic version of calligraphy, the middle is more modernized, and the bottom is just my regular hand writing using a calligraphy marker.  (I was in a hurry with that one, so it doesn't look as nice.  Sorry.)
Don't worry about going fast.  Take your time.  If you go too fast, you will smear your ink.  I left mine like this, because I thought it added to the creepiness factor, but if I was doing it for anything other than Halloween, I would have fixed it.  You can repair smudges with rubbing alcohol and a q-tip for most calligraphy markers.  Just carefully swab the places where the ink has smeared and is cloudy.

5.  Once the pumpkin is filled with writing, and the ink is dry, erase your pencil lines around your pumpkin.
6.  Place the pumpkin where you want it to be in your home and place the fake raven on top of it.  My raven fits fine on my pumpkin without glue, but you may want to use a hot glue gun to attach your raven to your pumpkin.

I made the pumpkin the center piece of my hall display this year, but it also looks AWESOME on fire place mantles and as table center pieces for a Halloween dinner party.

That is it!  Another super easy Halloween craft.
If you are wondering how much this one cost, this is one of my more expensive craft projects.  The foam pumpkin cost me $10 and the calligraphy pen $3.  The raven I got at the dollar store was only $1.
So, in total I spent about $15.00 on this one decoration.  But, again, I consider it an investment because I will be using it year after year.
Please keep checking back this week, as I plan to try to kick up the number of postings a little for the week leading up to Halloween to help you prepare for the little ghosts and goblins in your neighborhood!