Life's too short

Life's too short

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cornmeal Bread Machine Recipe

This has been my favorite bread machine recipe of all. It is excellent with a sweet butter (honey butter, maple butter, etc.) on it. The cornmeal gives it a wonderful texture. 

The cookbook says you get 22 slices out of the loaf, but I like a nice thick slice of this bread. There is no way I would get 22 slices out of this loaf!  I especially love it on a cold winter morning with a nice hot beverage.

Cornmeal Bread
2 lb bread machine recipe

¾ cup milk
1/3 cup water
3 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs margarine or butter, cut up
¼ tsp maple flavoring
3 cups bread flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ tsp active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

I just put the pecans on a small pan in the toaster oven and use the light toast setting. Do this before you add the ingredients to the machine, so they are ready by the time you have filled the machine.

Add ingredients to the machine according to the manufacturer’s directions. Select the basic white bread cycle.

22 slices - per slice: 126 cal, 3 g total fat (0 sat fat), 1 mg chol., 126 mg sodium, 22 g carbo., 3 g pro.

The maple flavoring can be found in the baking aisle at your grocery store (by the vanilla).  It has become one of my favorite additives in many recipes.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

DVR Expander - Another one of my favorite things

I purchased a few of these a couple of years ago, for our TVs and to give as gifts.  I only wish they had the Tetrabyte size back then.  These are super easy to hook up to your TV cable box.  What it does is give you more room to record your favorite TV movies and shows off of your DVR recorder.  Where you might only have approximately 70 hours of recording space on your DVR, this will give you so much more.  I think mine was 500 MB, and it gave me a total of 300 hours recording space.  I often come close to using it all up with the movies I record, so the 1 TB or higher versions would be a better buy.  Plus, they are less expensive nowadays (as electronics usually are).  This costs less than I paid for half the space.  I know this comes too late to purchase online for Christmas, but maybe you can find them at a local electronics store.  Or just treat yourself to a New Year's gift and order online.

A little Dr. Seuss for your Holiday

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?  It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes or bags.  And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.  Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.  ~Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

One Of My Favorite Things

Okay, now you may think I am weird, but this spatula is one of my favorite things.  I use it every day in the kitchen - I'll never use another type of spatula.  I was so disappointed to find out that my local grocery stores stopped carrying these, and was ecstatic to find out that they were for sale on Amazon.  I just stocked up on them so I have them for a long time to come. 

What I love about these Good Cook Touch Spatula Spreaders is that they are much more comfortable in your hand than a regular spatula, plus you have the whole length of the blade to scrape the side of a bowl.  I even use it in the frying pan to stir what I'm cooking.  The silicone is rated to 450 degrees, and it doesn't scratch the pan.  It even acts as a spreader for icings and such.  Give it a try, you'll never want another spatula again.

White Chocolate Raspberry Popcorn

It's almost Christmas and you may need to have some quick little gifts on hand to give to neighbors or co-workers.  This is a fast and easy recipe that always gets rave reviews.

White/vanilla candy melts or almond bark (these melt better than white chocolate chips)
Popcorn (I use microwave popcorn, the less butter the better)
Raspberry Flavoring (from your grocery store baking aisle)
Small (new) travel size spray bottle
Wax paper for counter
Large Bowl for popcorn
Double bolier or microwavable bowl for chocolate
*I found that one bag of candy melts covers 3 micro bags of popcorn.

First, melt your white chocolate either in the microwave or in a double boiler, according to the package directions. Set aside.

Pour some of your raspberry flavoring in the spray bottle. (Since the flavoring is water based, if you added it to the chocolate, it would seize up and not be pourable. If you happen to have access to an oil based raspberry flavoring, you can just add it to the chocolate once it is melted)

Pop your popcorn, and place in a large bowl. Drop several large spoonfuls of the white chocolate onto the popcorn and mix with two large spoons. Keep mixing until thoroughly coated. While chocolate is still wet, spray the raspberry flavoring on the popcorn and mix. Repeat 2 times.

Cover a large area of your counter with wax paper. Pour out your popcorn onto the paper, trying to leave any un-popped kernels in the bowl. Spread the popcorn out evenly.

Throw out the kernels, and begin process again if making more. Just add more popcorn to the previously made popcorn, and mix together. This is helpful if you happen to have one batch that has more chocolate in it, and by combining the batches, you end up with one evenly mixed batch.

Once the chocolate is dry, break up the popcorn into bite sized chunks. This is an opportunity for you to look for any kernels that may have made it into the batch, and you can remove them now.

Package up in cellophane or a plastic bag and tie with a ribbon or pipe cleaner. Add a cute tag with “white chocolate popcorn” on it. You could even put a warning on the label that it is very addictive.

I have tried this with regular milk chocolate and did not like the results. The white chocolate seems to be the best to go with the popcorn. You could probably experiment with other flavors, but I have found raspberry to be much loved.

Enjoy, and have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Words That Sell" Spices Up Your Etsy Listings

For those of you who sell your items on Etsy, Artfire, Ebay or even your own website, you know that sometimes it can be difficult to find just the right words to make your item sound enticing.  Or perhaps you are tired of using "cute" or "fabulous" on all of your items.

I found myself in the same situation, and wanted to see if I could spice up my listings and engage the buyer.  I wanted to draw them in and let them really feel or experience what it would be like to buy my items.  I began researching this topic and happened upon this book.  I have found it to be a very useful tool.  It is written with copywriters in mind, giving you lists of words for various subjects.  For example, there is a whole page of words under the title Fabulous.  Now I won't just have fabulous jewelery.  I might have something that is opulent, striking, unsurpassed, or even off the charts.

I know when I am rushing to get an item listed, I tend to just slap some words into the listing and get it posted, especiall when my creativity gene is still asleep.  With this handy reference tool by my side, I have thousands of words at my disposal, and I am ready to give my listing dramatic, spectacular and robust descriptions.

This book has received many great reviews on Amazon.   Check it out! 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Fabric Sale

HappyBugDesigns is celebrating the arrival of Fall in Las Vegas! From October 6th - 8th all the items in the Fabric Sale section will be 10% off. This is in addition to the almost at or below cost pricing that is already on these items. I need to make room for Santa's elves to do some work in the studio, so this fabric needs to find a new loving home.

Go to the Fall Fabric Sale now

7 Steps to increase your sales using

For those of you who sell on Etsy, there is a fabulous new website which has an application that lets you put either your whole store or one section on sale all at once. No more changing prices, one by one. This is the simplest and quickest app you can imagine.

Here are 7 steps you can do to maximize your sales.

1. Set up your sale on
2. On your Facebook fan page, create an event for the sale, using the same time frame as you put on Etsyonsale.
3. In the More Info section of the event you created in Facebook, add a link to your shop or shop section that is on sale.
4. Invite everyone to your event, updating your fans, and inviting your personal friends.
5. Go to the Etsy forum, to the Promotions section. List the sale, make sure the name matches exactly the sale name you used for your event on Facebook. Add a link to the event in Facebook. Add a link to the section you have on sale, or to your store.
6. Keep the forum post alive by commenting or adding photos or updates.
7. If you Blog or Tweet, make sure to mention the sale in each venue. Use the exact name you have used for all the other areas you have posted the sale.

EtsyOnSale not only places your items on sale, and removes the sale prices when the sale is over, but your items are also featured on their website as well.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lettering Delights Dollar Days Sale

I absolutely love all of the fonts and graphics that Lettering Delights has on their website.  I love to make gift tags, cards and scrapbook titles with the various alphabets and graphics.  Lately I have been learning to  use their black & white doodlebat fonts with colors and I'm amazed at how great they look in color.  They also have a nice selection of samples to give you ideas of how you can use their products.
Right now, until Sept. 1st, they are having a dollar sale.  With the economy the way it is, I try to stock up during these fabulous sales.  Although I have hundreds of their fonts and graphics, I found myself going back and looking at their product with a new eye, thinking of new ways to use their graphics. 

Stop using the boring fonts that came with your computer and add some style to your printed work.

Dollar Days

Pampered Pets

I ran across these items on Etsy this week and just thought they were precious.  I especially love the expressions on the animals.  It was so much fun to look around these Etsy stores and see the creativity of the artists.  Check out their stores for your daily dose of cuteness.




Friday, July 9, 2010

Making Bread Saves Dough

With the economy the way it is, most people find themselves tightening their belts, looking for ways to save money.  I hadn't realized that I never really looked at the price of certain items like bread.  I always just bought my favorite loaf and didn't think twice about it.  At some point, I started buying some generic items, which I always thought would be sub-par.  But I was surprised to find that the items I bought weren't bad at all, and really, I couldn't tell the difference.  Here I had been such a good coupon shopper and was totally missing a way to save more money.  So, I started to look at all the items I purchased to see if there was a way to save more money.  I was shocked to learn that my favorite bread was $3.50-$4.00. Sure, there were cheaper breads, but I couldn't see them being as good as my favorite.

I have had a breadmaker sitting in the closet for a while, which I whip out on occasion when the thought comes to mind.  I started thinking that I could just keep that breadmaker out, and make my own bread.  When you figure out the price of the ingredients, it costs about half the price to make a good healthy bread. I even talked a friend of mine into getting her machine out, and she likes it so much she is using it every day or two.  Not only does it cut the cost of the bread in half, but you aren't having to run to the store as often when you run out of bread, and there is less packaging waste. I just keep reusing the same ziplock bag. 
Sunbeam 5891 2-Pound Programmable Breadmaker
There are some great breadmakers out on the market now.  This Sunbeam machine at Amazon is similar to mine.  It makes up to a 2 lb. loaf and has 12 cooking functions and 3 crust colors.  This particular model is on sale right now and ships for free.  But Amazon has more than 100 different machines on their site, so there is sure to be one that suits you. 

I also purchased some bread machine mixes in bulk at Amazon.  These are great if you just want to drop it in the machine and go.  This 9-grain bread from Hodgson Mill was delicious!  But I have moved to making it myself with my own ingredients.  I received this cookbook as a gift for Christmas a few years back, and decided to dust it off.  While I originally started with the basic wheat recipe, I have found many wonderful recipes that I have tried or want to try.  The Cornmeal Bread is to die for, and I love the Oatmeal Bread too.  It has been a fun adventure going through the book trying to decide which one will be the next loaf I make. I'm glad that I started the process of reviewing what items I buy and looking for ways to cut the budget. Not only has this been less expensive, but, I must admit, I like my bread better than the store bought variety, and I know that it doesn't have all the preservatives and chemicals in it as well!

Hodgson Mill 9 Grain Bread Mix, 16-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6)
  Biggest Book of Bread Machine Recipes (Better Homes & Gardens Cooking) 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Journey To Happiness Begins

The HappyBug is on a journey to find what makes her happy in life. After all, life is too short to not be happy! Think about your life – are you just trudging along, one step at a time, through the mud? Is your life just a bunch of going to work to pay the bills and not much else? That is the path that I was on. Putting up with the day to day, and not thinking about what actually made me happy.

Now, I find myself analyzing what I do, what I buy and who I come in to contact with. What actually brings me happiness? What do I need to remove from my life that takes away the joy? I am hoping to bring you along on this journey. I wouldn’t say that this is so much a spiritual journey, but one that is grounded in the every day life. Through tips, recipes, and insights, I hope to pass along the things and places where I find happiness.

And maybe, just maybe, you might find something that makes you happy too.