CSE for the Holidays: Bargain Bubbly!

Image from pursepage.com


At Fabulous and Frugal, there’s a list of good sparky stuff for your New Year’s party. Check it out.

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CSE for the Holidays: Acorn Squash Olive Oil Cake


This was an experiment with savory ingredients in sweet desserts. It turned out so well, that my 10 year old niece had two pieces!

Since it’s so easy to make, it may become a go-to recipe long after the holidays have past.

Acorn Squash Olive Oil Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups cooked pureed acorn squash (roast in the oven cut in half 350 F for about 30 min)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1/4 cup milk (set aside)

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan (I used olive oil spray). In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine all of your wet ingredients, except for milk. Whisk your wet ingredients into your dry ones, making sure there are no dry streaks in the batter. Add in milk one tablespoon at a time if you need more liquid. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 mins, or until cake is nicely browned and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 mins. Run a butter knife around the edge of the cake. Transfer cake to a wire rack, then place wire rack on top of the loaf pan (loaf pan stays right side up!) for the cake to cool completely.


Oh boy!


……People spent more than expected on family and friends and splurged on themselves, too, an ingredient missing for the past two Christmases. Clothing such as fur vests and beaded sweaters replaced practical items like pots and pans. Even the family dog is getting a little something extra.

“You saw joy back in the holiday season,” said Sherif Mityas, partner in the retail practice at A.T. Kearney……..

Really? So the joy in the holiday season is buying stuff?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101224/ap_on_bi_ge/us_last_minute_shopping


CSE for the Holidays: Roasted Potatoes


With it’s sheer abundance during this time of year, potatoes belong on the holiday table. Everybody has their own way of fixing them. There’s everything from mashed potatoes to sweet potato and pecan casserole. You’ll have some sort of fancy spud before the end of the year.

I wanted to try something different. I tried a layered potato cake. It looked pretty, but it turned out too greasy for me. Then, I saw a method of slicing the potato in thin slivers not all the through the skin, and topping with a little olive oil. That worked great! So simple and easy. Top with some coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper and it looks so fantastic!

Next time, I’ll try a Potato Tian. Same concept with slices, but the presentation is taken up a notch.


CrazySexyCrafty: Christmas Gifts

What? You mean you haven’t started making any of your gifts yet? Well, it’s time to get crackin’. Seriously, blink and it will be Christmas Eve!

Need some ideas? Here’s a few that I like that are fairly easy. They don’t take more than a few hours, if you’ve already got the DIY bug. Hopefully you won’t need to buy any special equipment to make any of these gifts. The point is to use what you have (or can get fairly cheaply) to make something great.

For people:

Love this laptop sleeve by Carly J. Cais


This bag is easy to make with old denim and a thrifted leather coat. From between the lines.


Jewelry from hardware! Yes! Also check out Hanna Rogge’s great book Hardwear: Jewelry from a Toolbox.

This neckwarmer is just one of the many things Maegan makes. She has a ton of other simple DIY fashion projects.

T-shirt necklaces are easy, quick and super cool. This tutorial even has a video.

For pets:

I made these out of an old towel and a few old t-shirts and my critters just love them! I posted the tute here.


I think Martha Stewart’s site has some of the best pet projects on the web. There’s cool gift ideas for dogs and cats. There’s enough crafts to keep you and your pets busy for a while.

I’m sure that’s not all. Share some of the other ideas for gifts that you like.