Friday, October 16, 2015

Creating Frugal & Fancy Feasts: 17 Weeks of Learning to Live A Beautiful Life

Heya! It's Week 6 of my 17 Weeks of Learning to Live a Beautiful Life.

Before I give you the assignment for this week (should you chose to except it) is a picture of my newest addition.

Last week I showed you a pitiful picture of me soaking my feet in an old salad bowl.

My momma also saw it and sent me home with one of their many foot baths.


I have arrived.

This week I want to talk about how to make your every day meals just a bit fancier. I challenge you not to keep your special china moldering in the cabinet.

Get out those fancy dessert glasses or china plates! Don't wait for special occasions to live on the swanky side.

This week I would like for you to choose one it a full meal or snack, dessert, fancify.

I am going to give you a few of my favorite frugal fancy food hacks. Fer Sure.

Here my friends we have the versatile crepe. If you can flip a pancake you make a crepe. Don't let the fancy word scare you away.

Crepes take minimal ingredients and can be filled with sweet or savory fillings. They make for wonderful "impress the guests for breakfasts" kind of dishes.

My crepes here are simply filled with chopped fried apples and drizzled with a homemade caramel sauce (The Pioneer Woman has a really easy recipe). I also sprinkled them with fragrant cinnamon. They are plated on a vintage china plate that I got at the Thrift Store for a whole .25.

My favorite crepe recipe is from Allrecipes. Be sure to read the comments for some extra inspiration.

For lunch nothing says comfort more than a simple bowl of soup. You can dress up a bowl of soup considerably with just a little garnish. On this day I made my favorite recipe of tomato soup. I made extra large croutons out of some stale bread and garnished the whole thing with a little bit of parsley and just a tad bit of mozzarella cheese.

Of course I used one my favorite bowls evah! I should tell you that it is one of my more recent acquisitions. While at my mom's house this past weekend I happened to ooh and ahh in just the right tone over this bowl and its mate. They are now mine. Apparently, Mom is partial to the oohs and ahhs of her eldest. I shall try the same on a few other choices pieces of china.

I have mentioned before that I generally make supper easy on myself the majority of the week. However, I do chose one night a week that I pour all of my love and heavy whipping cream into a special supper for my guys.

Our special supper happened on an ordinary Tuesday evening this week. There was not a swim team practice nor spin class to draw us from home.

I made one of my favorite dishes ever. My Mom's famous French Chicken. This was the dish I asked for on my birthdays when I was a young 'n. I paired it with some simple mashed potatoes and Julia Child's Haricots Verts a la Maitre d'Hotel...which are basically green beans sauteed with a little lemon juice and butta. I picked up one of her French Cooking cookbooks this summer at The Thrift Store. Ooh la la.

This is a deceptively cheap meal. The green beans came straight from my Daddy's garden. The potatoes were 10 pounds for 1.49 this week at Aldi's and the chicken thighs were marked down for under .99 a pound. I only used half of the package I purchase. I love it when I can make a meal for soo cheap!

It is a really pretty meal and absolutely comforting. I did garnish the potatoes with a tassel of parsley. I should of chopped and sprinkled. As it is the potatoes look like a knitted hat with a pom pom on top.

We don't have dessert every evening. I will bake a nice loaf of fruit bread or a bundt cake once a week. Or I make up a batch of One Quart Pudding. This is an easy peasy microwave dessert.

Once again the caramel sauce makes an appearance. The star of the show is my adorable bubble glass dessert cup. I found 2 of these at a Thrift Store recently. I paid a buck for the pair.

These dessert glasses would make eating Jello a classy experience. The only thing missing from this picture is a dollop of real whipped cream.

Sometimes simple is just best. In this case simple comes in the form of a cup of Hot Chocolate. Of course, I have a truly decadent recipe that I use on occasion. And then there are the few boxes of Hot Chocolate mix I have in my cabinet. They are cheap and easy to use in case of a chocolate craving.  

This simple cup of hot chocolate is made special by the huge amount of mini marshmallows I piled on the top. I then drizzled a bit of the ever versatile caramel sauce over the marshmallows and added a sprinkling of cinnamon. This mug is extra large and presents any chocolate lover with a drizzly, yummy treat. I looked for a bag of mini M&M's I had in the back of my freezer (for those special baking needs). It looks like someone got to them before I did. You can use any kind of chopped candy to send the whole thing really over the top.

Every girl needs a few things for an impromptu tea party.

This tea bag holder and spoon make for a charming little addition. Both were given to me by my momma. I am sure she got them at a flea market years ago. I have an assortment of a both holders and spoons.

My bundt cake is Gluten and Sugar Free, but you can use even the easiest recipe to charm your tea party participants.

My tea party supplies have come from a variety of places, but all I have purchased myself have come from either a flea market or Thrift Store. I buy a cup here and there. Nothing matches and that's the way I like it. (Uh-Huh!)

Have I inspired you to fancify your feast? 

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Every recipe I use has a healthy alternative. For example, The Pioneer Woman Caramel Sauce is to die for. But I could do just that if I eat too much of it. I like to keep my blood sugar fairly controlled (I have that pesky diabetes type 2). For myself I use this recipe.  My hot chocolate is always sugar free and dolloped with whipped cream and cinnamon. Just don't be afraid to make it fancy.

2. Worried about using the fancy china? Frankly, my friend. Watcha waiting for? You can dial down the worry meter by taking a few precautions. Eat at the table. Don't use vintage china that has any gold or silver around the edge in the microwave. Chances are its the real stuff. My sets have been lovingly pieced together by my parents from a variety of flea markets through the years. My china pieces are really collectors items, but I have several that I just picked up at The Thrift Store.

3. Use cloth napkins. Oh yes. We used cloth napkins at my niece's graduation tea. You can check out that post for more fancy food ideas.

4. More than anything...make memories, have fun and make it special!

Make sure to check out my other Learning to Live a Beautiful Life posts thus far.

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