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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Frugal Friday: Lessons from the Howies

Today's Lesson: Entertaining at Home

(or How to Turn Your House Into a Bar)

Going out for drinks gets expensive fast. Luckily, Brent and Leanne Howie have perfected the art of entertaining and imbibing at home. Follow these simple steps and soon you will be wastin' away in Margaritaville from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Step 1: Get yourself a Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker. It shaves the ice and blends your drink at the touch of a button. It's like a vacation in a small kitchen appliance. It's a bartender you don't have to tip. It's a little bit of heaven right there on your counter top. Leanne has this one right now, but she's saving up (and accepting donations) for the brand new Premium Trio Margaritaville.

Now this initial investment might seem decidedly unfrugal, but believe me, it's worth it. (I can say this--I didn't pay for it.)

Step 2: Find yourself some good drink recipes. I've included a couple at the bottom of this post, and the Williams Sonoma mixes are pretty good, but the real fun is in coming up with your own creations. We've never made something that was so bad we couldn't drink it. You can also use your Margaritaville to make non-alcoholic kids' drinks and smoothies.

Step 3: String Christmas lights in your garage.

Step 4: Load your iPod with your hair band favorites.

Step 5: Hook the lights to your iPod so they're synchronized with the music. (By the way, this is also a great technique for soothing a crying baby.)

Step 6: Clear your garage, borrow tables from your parents, and your party room is good to go. Leave it set up indefinitely in case of inpromptu gatherings.

(Now another option, the way of the Burrows family, is not to actually follow any of these steps yourself, but rather to make friends with someone who does. Thanks Brent and Leanne!)


Frozen Margarita (serves one)

3 spoonfuls frozen limeade concentrate (not diluted)
3 spoonfuls powdered sugar
1 ounce tequila
1/2 ounce triple sec
Squirt (to taste)
Ice (to taste)

Blend ingredients and serve in a salt-rimmed margarita glass.

For an Italian Margarita, substitue amaretto (Disaranno is best) for the tequila. Also try substituting amaretto for the rum in a Pina Colada--blend pineapple juice, cream, cream of coconut, Squirt, Disaranno, and ice. It's not diet friendly, but it's good.

Now, if don't have a Margaritaville (or a blender), here's a recipe for you.

Margarita on the Rocks

1 1/2 ounces tequila
1/2 ouce Cointreau
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
3 ounces Squirt

Shake all the ingredients in an ice-filled shaker (or in a pinch, a sippy cup) for at least one minute. Strain into an ice-filled, salt-rimmed margarita glass.

You can substitute 1 ounce Triple Sec for the Cointreau and Grand Marnier.

To make simple syrup, combine equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cool.

While margaritas are, in my humble opinion, the secret to happiness, Brent disagrees. For an even simpler party solution, you can always make do with a nice, cold beer.

1 comment:

  1. The birdie background is really cute. I think I'll steal it.