Author Archives: ArtisanMaskers

Recipe of the Week ~ “Lemonies”

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I happened across this recipe through pinterest, and had to give it a try!  We’re a big fan of brownies at my house, and I ADORE chocolate, but sometimes I just want to switch it up a little.  So, why not lemon “brownies”?  This was even quicker/easier than making brownies from scratch (because you don’t have to melt any chocolate!), and they would be a fantastic dessert option for a bridal shower or luncheon because of the light, fruity taste!

“Lemonies” (or Lemon “Brownies”)

Brownies
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish and set aside.  Zest and juice two small lemons; set aside.  (I used one large lemon and had more than enough juice and zest!)  Beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Pour into the flour mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.  (Don’t worry if it looks lumpy at first!  It will come together if you just beat long enough!)
Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before glazing.
When brownies are cooled completely, make the glaze by whisking together all three ingredients. Spread over the brownies with a rubber spatula.  Cut, serve, ENJOY!  (I should probably mention that I actually added a little more–okay I doubled it–lemon juice in both the “brownie” mixture and the glaze.  But I like things pretty darn lemon-y, so you may want to try the recipe as written here first, if you’re not sure. ;D  )

Recipe of the Week ~ Navajo Fry Bread

Looking for a quick, easy, versatile dinner idea?  Congrats, you found it!  Navajo Fry Bread (again, courtesy of pinterest) is an easy-to-work-with dough that you, well, fry.  And, if being fried isn’t enough to convince you on it’s own, consider that it’s basically just as easy as tacos to throw together as a meal, but seems so much fancier!  (Unless you’re one of those people.  You know, the ones that even make their own tortillas?  Yeah…  I’m not one of them, obviously…)  You fry up the bread, then serve with whatever toppings you have on hand:  rice, sour cream, ranch dressing, shredded cheese, salsa, lettuce, chopped tomatoes or sweet peppers, corn, olives, leftover taco/fajita/whatever meat, refried beans, kidney beans, pinto beans…  you get the idea.  It’s also really easy to make it vegetarian!

Two things before you dive in:  1. I know you’re looking at the ingredients and thinking, “Powdered milk?  I’ll just leave that out since I don’t have any on hand…”  DON’T DO IT.  Every traditional fry bread recipe I’ve EVER seen uses powdered milk.  For a reason.  It makes your dough more manageable for one.  It also affects the flavor.  (True story.)  Plus, powdered milk will stay good for a LOOOONG time, so just suck it up and get some already.  2.  If you have a second, check out the place where pinterest got this recipe so you can learn a little about the history of fry bread, too!

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Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup water
Vegetable oil for frying
Extra flour to flour your hands

Stir together the flour, salt, powdered milk, and baking powder into a large bowl. Pour the water over the flour mixture all at once and stir the dough until it starts to form one big clump. Flour your hands well. Using your hands, begin to mix the dough, trying to get all the flour into the mixture to form a ball. You want to mix well WITHOUT kneading (which will toughen your dough).

Cut the dough into four (4) pieces. Using your floured hands, shape, stretch, pat, and form a disk of about 5 to 7 inches in diameter. In a deep heavy pot, heat the vegetable oil to about 350 degrees F. Take the formed dough and gently place it into the oil, being careful not to splatter the hot oil. Fry until brown, and then flip to fry the other side. Each side will take approximately 3 to 4 minutes to cook. Place the cooked Fry Bread on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Featured WedEclectic Shop — ClayBouquetShop!

Continuing our feature of the winner for each month’s Team Treasury Challenge, here is our second interview: held with Jennifer from ClayBouquetShop!  (Jennifer’s winning treasury for October can be seen here.  To vote on November’s treasury challenge see this post!)


BlueHead

How did you start your shop? 

I didn’t know it at the time, but preparing for our DIY wedding laid the groundwork for my Etsy shop. I didn’t seriously consider continuing the creative work I was doing until after being strongly encouraged by every one of our wedding vendors to create bouquets and accessories for other brides! I started creating items for my shop the day after we arrived home from our honeymoon. : )

RedOrange
How did you come up with your shop name?

Since I made the wedding bouquets and boutonnieres out of clay flowers, and I thought that the shop would be comprised mainly of those creations, I named it “Clay Bouquet Shop.” Little did I know that it would grow to include brooch, beaded and feather bouquets, sashes, hair accessories, and jewelry. : )

BlackWhiteBout

Tell us about some of your favourite items in the shop.

I love to make clay bouquets, but have to limit the number of contracts I take on due to the time it takes to make the flowers by hand after my full time job. My husband brags about them to others whenever given the chance, which I find quite funny as he protested quite vehemently (for months) when I told him I didn’t want to carry fresh flowers. He finally changed his mind when he saw them arranged, the weekend before our wedding. And he’s even commented that the fresh bridal bouquets he has seen at recent weddings don’t look as good as the ones I make, as they tend to be a bit wilted by the time wedding party pictures are taken.

I also love the brooch bouquets that I have designed for brides…and if we ever renew our vows (which he brings up all the time…and we just celebrated our 3rd anniversary : ) I’m making one for myself!

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And I have a few favorite sets…

The Amanda, bridal sashheadband, and earrings:

Amanda

Amanda2

The Colette, bridal sash, headband, bracelet, and earrings:

Collette

What inspires you?

The brides I work with, one on one…their themes and details provide a framework for their bouquets. : )

PeacockBride

What is your favorite wedding trend (now or past)?

I really enjoy seeing weddings that incorporate the bride and groom’s passions and favorite things. It becomes less of a traditional cookie-cutter wedding and more of a unique celebration of the couple’s lives coming together.

SilverBroochBouquet

Given the opportunity, which celebrity would you like to see wearing your designs?

I am tickled pink whenever I see photos of brides wearing or carrying my creations, so I would love if any public figure wore or carried anything I made for them!

The Vivian, crystal headpiece and earrings:

Vivian

What is your unicorn – that is, what is an object or skill that has eluded you so far?

If time is an object…I wish I had enough time to fill my current orders, maintain my life/home/business and to accept last minute orders. I’ve had to turn away a number of brides this year due to my busy production schedule, and wish that I could help every bride that contacts me. (I’m currently booked through March of 2013 for bouquets.)

BlueRoseBouquet

What do you think the future holds for you / your shop?

We’re moving early next year, and my plan is to have a devoted room for my shop…and I look forward to be able to display my creations and have a bright, spacious room to work in!

Poppy

Recipe of the Week

Apple-Avocado Salsa

I happened across this recipe in an old library book (which I can’t remember the name of now–dang it!).  And, I know what you’re thinking:  APPLE salsa!?!?  But, trust me, it is delicious!  The tart apples and lime juice are perfectly balanced by the creamy avocado and zippy cilantro.  I get compliments on this stuff whenever I take it to a potluck of any kind; it’s also especially great when served with fajitas.  Plus, it looks gorgeously festive for the upcoming Holiday season!  Enjoy!

 

 

1 Cup Granny Smith (or other tart) apple, diced

1/2 Cup ripe avocado, peeled and diced

1/4 Cup sweet red pepper, diced (as you can see from the picture, I also used some yellow peppers)

1/4 Cup purple onion, diced

1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons jalapeño, seeded and minced (I never actually use this, because we like it a little less spicy!)

1/2 teaspoon lime zest

1 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice

1  small clove garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and toss well.  Make an hour or two ahead for best flavor results.  Yield:  2 Cups.

Recipe of the Week

From Amanda’s kitchen, of ArtisanMaskers

Mock Apple Crisp

Doesn’t this Autumny apple crisp look delicious?  Well, if you thought those were apples you’d be  WRONG!  Believe it or not, this is a picture of my sister’s “mock apple” crisp, which uses not apples, but ZUCCHINI!  (Great way to use up all the excess zucchini from your garden, right?)  Here we go!

First, to turn all that zucchini into “apples”!

8 Cups Zucchini, peeled, seeded, and chopped into “apple-like” chunks or slices

3/4 Cup Lemon Juice

1 Cup Sugar

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

1 Tbsp Cornstarch

Boil zucchini pieces in lemon juice until tender (about 15 minutes).  Add sugar, spices, and cornstarch and simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Let cool slightly.

To make “crisp” topping, cut together with a pastry blender:

1 Stick Cold Butter (1/2 Cup)

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Oats

1 tsp Cinnamon

Pour your mock apple mixture into a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle crisp topping crumbs evenly over all.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until top looks slightly browned.  Enjoy hot with ice cream!

Summer Circus Wedding

Over the summer the Artisan Maskers collaborated with a whole team of amazing artists to put together a fantasy Circus-themed wedding shoot.  Here’s a quick spread of the carnival madness that ensued!

 

First, we have our Tightrope Walker bride.  She preps for the big day with a gorgeously bizarre assemblage of bridesmaids (below): a Clownette, a Lion Tamer, a Fortune Teller, and even a mustachioed Ringmaster!

 

Next up, our Clown of a Groom and his fabulous Groomsmen: the Magician, the Roustabout, and, okay, the “Lion”, too…

 

A few choice shots of the Bride and Groom…

 

And, then, the gang’s all here!  Time for the party to START!

So, what do YOU think?  Could a Circus be in your marital future?  ;D

 

 

Please, have a look at all of the incredible artists that made this shoot possible!

Mini Top Hats, Clownette Ruff, Dog Ruff, Feather Bouquet – Because It Sparkles

Crystal Bridal Headband and Belt – Clay Bouquet Shop

Bustle Skirt and Groom/Best Man Jackets – DAS

Little Miss Muffett Garter – Never A Plain Jane Designs

Corsets and Petticoat – Period Corsets

(Not pictured:  Wedding Streamers – Extravagant Exits )

Recipe of the Week

I’m actually expecting my fourth baby right now.  That being the case crazy cravings hit me at weird times.  Just before midnight the other night, I NEEDED nachos!  With good, gooey, spicy nacho cheese, of course!  Well, I never buy Velveeta, so I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find a good recipe online that I’d actually have the ingredients for.  I was surprised that a lot of recipes were basically just a white sauce with sharp cheddar added.  Easy!  So, here’s the slightly spiced up version I whipped up to satisfy the craving.

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Easy Nacho Cheese at Home

2 Tbsp margarine

¼- ½ a small onion, diced (roughly 2 Tbsp)

2 Tbsp flour

Dash cayenne pepper

Dash black pepper

1 ½ – 2 Cups milk

Cheddar cheese to taste, sliced or grated

½ can diced green chiles (4 oz can; you could probably scoop in a couple tablespoons of your favorite salsa, if you don’t have chiles on hand!)

Melt margarine over medium heat.  Add onions and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes.  Stir in flour and peppers.  Gradually whisk in milk.  (Adjust amount of milk according to your own preferences on thickness.)  Whisk often until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.  (Don’t let the sauce boil or the milk will curdle.  Still tastes good, but the creaminess is ruined.  If you’re nervous, just watch it carefully, whisk pretty constantly, and lower the heat as needed. You shouldn’t have a problem.)  Lower heat and gradually add cheese.  When cheese is melted, stir in chiles (or salsa).  Cook just a couple minutes more to let the spicy flavors blend, then remove from heat.  Serve with or pour over tortilla chips!  This should make enough for you, your honey, and a couple of friends.  Or just you, if you’re expecting, too.  ;D

Tips for a Less Expensive Wedding – #6 Do it Yourself

By ArtisanMaskers

Doing it yourself seems the obvious choice when trying to cut back on expenses.  BE WARNED, though, that sometimes going  “DIY” doesn’t save you enough money to be worth the extra headache!  Jennifer, from ClayBouquetShop, wrote a fantastic article about this very topic.  She offers some great tips if you are planning to take some elements of your wedding day into your own hands!  That being said, if you are artistic or good with your hands or just already know your own talents and limitations well enough, it can be a great way to save some money!  So go ahead and ponder the possibilities, just know that you personally won’t have the time to do everything.  Pick and choose wisely.

My real-life example, Julianna, wanted her bouquet to last beyond the wedding day.  She also wanted something that was uniquely her.  With a little craft-store savvy, she rounded up the elements that fit her vision, and came up with this gorgeously unique bouquet for around $20.

Looking for some more DIY inspiration?  Check out these fabulous posts right here on the Wed Eclectic blog!

Mercury Glass DIY

DIY Photo Booth (with Props)

How to Edit Your Own Photos

Tips for a Less Expensive Wedding – #5 Be Creative!

By ArtisanMaskers

This tip is exactly what the Wed Eclectic Team is all about, so if you are reading our blog, you probably already have creativity in the bag!  This step is all about the question: who wants a wedding just like the next?  This is a chance to share your joy and excitement with those who care about you most, so it should reflect who you are, even in the details.  Often, with a little creativity, you can not only express yourself better, but save some money, as well!

My wedding colors were based on citrus tones, so my center-pieces consisted very simply of artfully piled limes, lemons, and tangerines among greenery and “filler” flowers (which can be purchased inexpensively at a floral supply place).  It was a cheap, but pretty, alternative to candles, glassware, or floral arrangements.

Another way I was able to save some money with a little creativity was by having our engagement announced with photos taken in one of those old black and white photo booths.  We found one, took two tries and used them on the back of the announcements.  It was definitely quirky (like me!) but you can’t beat spending $2 for your engagement photos!

Julianna wanted her bridesmaids to look cohesive, but not hate their dresses.  She purchased fabric in the colors she liked and then allowed each bridesmaid to have a dress of their choosing made for them in that fabric.  They were guaranteed to like the style (as their dress was made for them), and she liked the unified look.

Looking for more ways to give your wedding a splash of creativity?  I loved the creative use of color in this post (especially on simple things like fingernails and chair ribbons), the many alternatives to the “traditional” toasting flutes in this post, and some alternative lighting ideas offered in this post!  If you are having a hard time defining how to imbue your wedding with your own personality, I highly recommend starting with MyHaleyGirl‘s post about skipping the “cookie cutter” wedding, too.

Tips for a Less Expensive Wedding – #4 Call In Those Favors!

Tip #1   Prioritize!

Tip #2   Have the “Money Chat”

Tip #3   Set a Realistic Budget

Tip #4   Call in those favors!

Now is not the time to be shy!  You are getting married and hopefully your friends are ecstatic for you!  If any of them happen to be photographers, florists, or designers of any kind, it’s not out of line to ask if they’d be willing to donate some of their time or talents in place of a more traditional gift.  Especially if you’ve helped them out before; an exchange of talents is only fair!  PLEASE keep in mind, though, that expecting them to do everything for free may be asking too much! Knowing how much you could be spending for another professional will help you gauge how your friend’s time is worth, so do your homework before approaching them!  This is vital, as it will avoid awkward situations in a serious way.

I have a pretty big family.  And, lucky for my wedding budget, they also happen to be pretty talented!  My older sister—a graphic designer—designed our wedding announcement.  My cousin—a seamstress—created the frilly over-dress that I wanted at a discount for me.  My husband’s mother—a pastry chef—did a lot of the food herself, including our delicious cake.  I also have two amazing friends who took care of our photography on the big day and a couple of co-workers (who owned a floral business) got me a discount on the floral elements I used.

And, remember my friend, Julianna?  Well, her gorgeous pictures were taken by a phenomenally talented friend of the family, who was willing to give Julianna a huge discount in exchange for getting to use the photos in her budding portfolio.  Never hurts to ask!