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!