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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.

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 )

Tips for a Less Expensive Wedding – #3 Set (and STICK to!) a Realistic Budget

by ArtisanMaskers

I know, I know.  Tip number THREE, is setting a budget?  Most people want to jump right in and start here.  But, trust me, this vital step will be so much easier if you’ve already taken the time to prioritize your wedding preferences and talk over money with the involved parties!

Let’s start by taking a look over your list of who is paying for what and figure out what you and your fiancé have to cover.  Now draw up a quick list of those things and be realistic about what you think you can spend on each item, keeping in mind the priorities you’ve set!  If you really can’t face setting it all down on paper from scratch, here are two budget planners I found through a quick online search:

Here is one which is a little “detail” lacking, but a good start.  I do like that they’ve given you a column for “anticipated” cash flow, as well as “actual” cash flow.  If you use those columns as you go along, you can make slight adjustments here and there, and will hopefully know if you have enough extra to cover any unexpected expenses.

Here’s another drafted budget.  This one looks good, but I would highly recommend changing those percentages to better reflect what you decided your priorities would be!  You may also want to break down those large categories into smaller, more manageable shopping lists.

I am almost certain there isn’t a bride-to-be out there who hasn’t heard the advice of setting and sticking to a realistic budget.  And yet, isn’t it strange how many attempt to ignore that advice?  Ignoring your budget not only encourages you to stop hunting for better deals, but it often causes greater financial stress among families, including the one you’re about to start!  Having the budget written down and keeping it with the things you are using to plan the wedding will help you visualize the process and help you stick to it!

As I mentioned in my second post, my parents gave me cash to cover our reception costs.  This worked out as a great budgeting tool for me, because I could quickly see just how much we spent, and how much we had left, as we went along.  I also pulled certain amounts aside for specific, more expensive, things on our shopping list (like my dress and the rings) ahead of time, so that I knew I’d have that money when I needed it.