Recession Chic

a down economy does not = ugly shoes

Fashion Redux: A bridesmaid’s dress from yesteryear June 24, 2009

Filed under: Fashion — karakrautter @ 8:53 PM
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Yes, we’ve all been told it before. “The dress is super comfortable and you can totally wear it again.” But, how many of you have actually worn a bridesmaid’s dress again? Now, I’ve known several girls that just had to pick something in a certain color — I know they’ve worn the dresses again. However, when it comes to the wardrobe for a bridesmaid, that’s still the exception, not the rule.

Last summer I was in the wedding party of a dear friend on mine from graduate school. Luckily, the dress she chose was comfortable and a good color for me. But, I’m not the tallest girl, so the full-length nature of the dress did swallow me a bit. As the reception wound down, several of us bridesmaids agreed that the dresses could be worn again if they were shortened.

Almost a year later, I finally got around to taking the dress to my alterations lady. The dress was in pretty good shape post dry cleaning, so I decided to see about turning the more formal gown into cocktail attire. Just after $30 and a few weeks, I have a ‘new’ dress!

Check out the transformation.




Dining In: Tuna Pasta with Tomatoes and Arugula June 19, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 7:10 PM
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As you can probably tell, when it comes to pasta, I really like fun-shaped noodles. But, when I came across this recipe the idea of just regular spaghetti really sounded tasty.

I had some extra cherry tomatoes and no lemon, so I decided to give the recipe a little different spin, and a little Parmesan. Plus, it is nearly impossible for me (or my father) to have pasta without some kind of cheese. Simple, light, another perfect summer pasta!


  • 1/2 pound dried angel hair
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Generous pinch hot red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 package good tuna in water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound baby arugula
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese


1.Bring a pot of salty water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve some cooking water before draining.

2.While waiting for the water to boil, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, a couple minutes, then add the tuna and halved tomatoes. Add a splash of the pasta cooking water to create a sauce. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and the lemon juice.

3. Add the cooked pasta along with the contents of the skillet back into the past pot. Toss well to combine. Add the arugula and continue tossing, allowing it to wilt, moistening with pasta water or olive oil as needed.

4.Top with Parmesan and serve.



Dining In: Stuffed Portobellos with Spinach and Cheese June 11, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 10:04 AM
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Nothing says the summer like grilling. But, if you’re like me, your small – but very cute – patio doesn’t quite have room for a grill. And, let’s be honest, some part of cooking should be given to the guys. So, when I came across this recipe, I knew I would need creatively ‘grill’ the mushrooms.

For all of you sans a grill this summer, no fear! The broiler is a fine substitute. Though, I do want to try these eventually on a nice Webber grill *hint *hint.


2-3 large portobello mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 nine-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
1 container Boursin cheese (garlic and herb)
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Clean mushrooms and remove gills using a spoon. Brush all over with olive oil and set aside.

2. Mix the cooked spinach, cheese, and garlic together in a bowl to make the filling. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Stuff each mushroom with a generous portion of the filling.

4. Place the mushrooms stuffed side up on a 1/2in deep baking pan. Broil on high until filling is bubbling and the mushrooms are well seared, about 20 minutes. Remove and serve immediately!



Dining In: Gnocchi with Creamy Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes June 5, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 12:22 PM
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As I head into month 6 of my new year’s resolution to cook more, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to really make a dinner on a regular basis — just a little inspiration. Even the nights when I don’t use a recipe, I’ve found that I am far more creative (culinary not haphazardly) in what I choose to cook. Below is a quick and easy recipe I found from one of my favorite blogs on simple, inexpensive meals. I know I will be cooking this again soon!

Gnocchi with Creamy Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes


  • 1 12-oz package gnocchi
  • 1/2 cup fresh pesto (I used HEB’s pre-made pesto in a jar)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • Parmesan and pine nuts to garnish


1. Cook gnocchi according to directions in salted water.

2. In a small pot, whisk together pesto and half-and-half over medium heat until well incorporated and hot.

3. Once gnocchi is cooked, toss gently with the creamy pesto and cherry tomatoes. Garnish with leftover pine nuts and Parmesan.



Tax Rebate Home Redo: Updated Showers June 3, 2009

Filed under: Home Decor — karakrautter @ 1:18 PM
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Fixing up my bathrooms has been quite a process. The updated cabinets, accessories, sink fixtures, and lights have done a lot to bring my bathrooms into the modern design age. The second to last element I needed to fix was the shower/tub fixtures. Similar to the sinks, the shower fixtures were very bland and acrylic – not the look I’m going for. So, I decided to first purchase new shower fixtures for both full bathrooms from the Home Depot. I found exactly what I needed for a great price…unfortunately, my plumber had a different opinion.

A plumber you may ask? Not my Dad or Uncle? Sadly, yes. My Dad (who I believe can fix anything) doesn’t feel too confident in his plumbing ability and my uncle wasn’t available. Thankfully, I got a great recommendation on a plumber that definitely cost me a bit more, but gave me the perfect advice!

So, the fixtures I found weren’t going to work. Now, if I wanted to remove the wall behind both showers and completely redo the space, they could.  I opted for my plumber to get me different (much pricier) fixtures to install. In the short term it was more money, but it was definitely the simplest and long term more cost efficient option. And, I must say, they look fabulous and the new shower heads are quite nice in the morning!