Recession Chic

a down economy does not = ugly shoes

Dining In: Tangy Mac and Cheese for Two March 30, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 7:59 PM
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Laugh all you want, but my recipe today was inspired by salad. I knew I had some leftover bagged salad that I needed to eat and I remembered one of my favorite meals with my friend Hillary in NYC. One of the last times I was visiting the city, Hillary, I and several other friends ate at in Hell’s Kitchen (what was the restaurant name?). The yummiest looking thing on the menu was macaroni and cheese. To pretend we were being healthy, Hillary and I decided to split the mac and cheese and a salad, thinking the two would balance out.

So, I went to look for a tasty recipe online and came up short. Instead, I decided to make my own with two of my favorite cheese and shell noodles (since I haven’t had them in a while). Check out the recipe and photos below!

Kara’s Tangy Mac and Cheese

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat shell noodles
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 2 cups of shredded white cheddar
  • 4 oz. blue cheese crumbles
  • .5 cup cream
  • whole grain bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper

1. Boil pasta according to directions

2. Saute butter in a large saucepan, add 1.5 cups of white cheddar, cream and blue cheese. Cook until the sauce becomes a thick liquid. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Drain pasta and place into a deep circle dish. Add cheese sauce to pasta and top with bread crumbs and remaning white cheddar.

4. Broil on high in the over until cheese bubbles and then serve.

5. And of course, a spring mix salad with a sweet, fruit based dressing (to cut the tang) and you favorite Pale Ale to finish it!

mmm mac and cheese









home cooking on a monday

You may be asking, ‘what happened to last week’s recipe’? Well, for the first time this year I cooked something not so great. I found a recipe for gnocchi on Broke Ass Gourmet(a blog usually filled with great recession friendly meal ideas). Well, not sure why, but the fig and brie flavors didn’t quite work with the gnocchi. Oh well, can’t win them all. 🙂


$10 Girl’s Night In – Pizza and Champagne March 27, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 4:11 PM
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Yesterday afternoon at work, I realized it had been too long since I’ve hosted a girls night at my condo — and that I hadn’t seen any friends all week. Well, this social drought needed some fixing. Since budgets are tight for all of us, I opted for a simple pizza and drinks menu.

At HEB I was delighted to find California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizzas 2 for $11 (perfect amount for three hungry ladies), and my new favorite champagne from Washington State, Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut, for $9.99 a bottle. So, for a little more than $10 a head I was able to host a fabulously fun girls night filled with great Thursday night TV and tons of laughs.

pizza and champagne


Coming Soon: Nordstrom Rack Store in Austin March 24, 2009

Filed under: Fashion — karakrautter @ 3:38 PM
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So, my dad just sent me this article from the Austin Business Journal announcing Nordstrom’s plans to put a Rack Store in the Gateway Shopping Center. Another reason I love Nordstrom, they actually pay attention to what their customers need. Not only is their service top notch every time I’m in the store, they are helping us all be recession chic with great clearance items and great prices on the best brands. Can’t wait!


DIY Pedicure March 21, 2009

Filed under: Fashion — karakrautter @ 10:34 AM
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My bi-weekly pedicure was probably the first ‘luxury’ I decided to cut last fall. Sure, the onset of winter did help the sacrifice not seem so bad. Now that spring is here, my feet need to be sandal ready. Just as a recession should not mean ugly shoes,  it shouldn’t mean un-kept toes either.

Instead of heading to my favorite nail salon, I spent my Saturday morning cleaning the condo and giving myself a pedicure. The key to a good DIY pedicure is taking your time. Any time I rush, my toes look a bit mangled. Exfoliation and finding a fun new color helps it look professional. My favorite polishes, OPI, are being sold at Sephora now. A few weeks ago I noticed that they are carrying a cute, springy line for ‘girly geeks.’ So, I picked up a new color (I’m Wired) and a few free samples from Sephora for my mini spa Saturday.

What new OPI color are you wearing for spring?


Find Your Recession Style March 16, 2009

Filed under: Fashion — karakrautter @ 2:57 PM

I’ve really enjoyed having Recessionwire in my Google reader over the past month or so. They really are posted a great balance of recession-related content — humor, job advice, recent layoffs and fashion.

Here’s a link to a great post they did on identifying your recession style. I’m totally ‘Chic Sophisticate.’  Which one best describes your style these days?


Dining In: Cilantro-Lime Crab Pesto March 15, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 8:26 PM
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My mother never (well, rarely) uses recipes when she cooks dinner, but as a baker, I always find comfort with a little direction. After several months of making new meals from recipes, I decided I probably had enough research and practice under my belt to go off on my  own.

Recently I’ve seen a lot of food blogs talking pesto, the culinary world’s way to reign in spring. Since I still had some lump crab meat and cilantro from last week’s meal, I decided to make the best use of my fresh ingredients and create my own cilantro pesto for a light pasta dish. Below are the directions…as best I can remember.

Cilantro-Lime Crab Pesto

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • juice of 1.5 limes
  • olive oil
  • garlic salt
  • 2-3 tbs. of shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1-2 tbs. pine nuts
  • 5 oz. crab meat
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes

Directions: In a food processor, blender, or in my case a mini chopper — puree cilantro, pine nuts, cheese and crab with olive oil until it looks like pesto. No chunks, very green. Cook some bow-tie pasta. Slice cherry tomatoes and place into the bottom of your serving dish. Once pasta is ready, strain and serve on top of tomatoes. Then add pesto and toss together. Serve and eat!

cilantro-lime crab pesto


Dining In: Crab Fried Rice March 9, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 6:34 PM
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One of the things I’ve loved most about doing this blog is discovering other great blogs. One such blog is Serious Eats. Everyday I get tons of great recipe ideas delivered straight to my Google Reader.

Last week I came across a recipe for crab fried rice. I’ve never made fried rice and I love crab,  so I decided it was time to give it a whirl. I made only a few tweaks to accommodate what I already had in the fridge. I was really surprised by how easy and tasty it was. Even the kid that came to the door to try and get me to sign a petition commented on the great smell of what I was cooking. Check out the recipe and photo below.

Crab Fried Rice, for 1


1 clove garlic
1.5 tablespoons canola oil
1.5 tbsp. egg whites
.5 cup cooked jasmine rice
Salt and pepper
Pinch brown sugar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 scallions, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
3 ounces cooked crab meat
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped


1. Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour egg whites into the skillet and let it cook for about a minute or so. Then scramble up the bits that haven’t cooked.

2. Dump in the rice, and stir until all the rice is coated in the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the sugar, soy sauce, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for another minute.

3. Add the chopped scallions and half of the crab meat. Cook for another minute, stirring occasionally.

4. Serve the rice on a large plate. Sprinkle with the remaining crab and chopped cilantro. You can add a little more salt, pepper, and soy sauce -but mine needed nothing.

crab fried rice