Tuesday, February 26, 2013

experiment = addiction

This year I have resolved to be better at our food budget.  The food budget is the hardest thing for me to submit to.  Food costs money (and it seems like everything is becoming more pricey), and there just never seems to be enough of it.  I am convinced that my two boys are going to eat us out of house and home.  I have always struggled with our food budget, and as a result, it has brought a bit of stress on my husband.  So, this year, I am determined to stay within our budget so we can use other money for more fun things, rather than covering my food spending.

As a result of my determination, I started this week with $4 and we were out of a lot of things, but I didn't want to have to go to the store until our normal shopping day (this case Wednesday, usually it's Thursday), so I got creative and looked for a bagel recipe.  I've always wanted to make bagels.  They are on my secret baking bucket list (did you know I had one of those?).

I really wanted to make these, but the thought of making my kitchen aid mixer smoke kind of scared me.  Plus, I really wanted to use my bread machine (I'm kind of a lazy bread maker. . . and it does all the hard work for me).  So, I took a gander and googled one that had 4.5 stars and it was so worth it.  I may NEVER buy store bought bagels again.

These were seriously the best bagels ever!  I think that if my family didn't have self control we would have eaten the whole batch Sunday afternoon (that may have been carb overload!).  Plus, factor in that the fact that I used the bread machine and you can consider this recipe super easy!  It really wasn't as intimidating as I anticipated.  

Also, before I forget, don't forget their are 2 days left to get in on my bloggie birthday give-away. . . follow the blog to enter.  Be entered twice if you share my blog.  Be entered a third time if you comment in the comments below by answering the following question:

What's your favorite bagel?

Here's the recipe:

Bread Machine Bagels
adapted from allrecipes.com

1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp dry active yeast
3 quarts water
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cornmeal

poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and dried onion for topping


1. Place your water, sugar, flour, and yeast in your brad machine pan.  Set to dough setting and let your machine do all the work.  Remember, it is important to not let your yeast touch the water until the cycle begins.  It helps to make a divot in the flour to hold your yeast.  

2.  When the dough is finished, let it rest on a lightly flowered surface.  Meanwhile, bring your 3 quartts of water and sugar to a boil.  Cut dough into 9 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and poke a hole in it with your finger.  Twirl the dough on your finger to enlarge the hole.  Cover the bagels with a clean cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.  

3.  Sprinkle an ungreased baking sheet with cornmeal.  Carefully transfer bagels to boiling water.  Boil for 1 minute, making sure to turn each one over halfway through.  Drain briefly on a clean towel   Arrange boiled bagels on a baking sheet.  Glaze top with egg white and sprinkle with your choice of toppings.  

4.  Bake in an preheated 375 oven for about 20 minutes, until well browned.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Happy Belated Birthday, Blog!

Okay, my fellow readers. . . I sit here in the peace and quiet of my office as it is late and half of my family is sleeping (the kiddos, of course!).  I decided to check out the day that I started this blog. . . I knew it was after Christmas sometime during Ethan's first year of life. Apparently, I started blogging on January 23rd, 2009. . . Over 4 years ago.  I missed my blog birthday. . .  oops!

I started this blog as an outlet to share my creative side and get back into the occasional writing spurt, and maybe connect with the outside world sometime.  I am enjoying being able to share with you my creations, my thoughts, and sometimes, my dreams.  I have shared so many goals with you and many of those goals never came to be, but you are still here. . . reading. . . I appreciate it!  
So, I am taking this grand opportunity of peace and quiet to share an awesome give-away. . . for you, in honor of my blogging adventure.  First of all, if you are following me regularly, THANK You!  I love that you read my blog and are sharing in my journey of creative-ness in the chaos of motherhood.  If you read my blog and don't follow me. . . thank you for reading my words and taking the time to check my blog, you are also appreciated!  And thanks to all those who have pinned or stumbled upon me by accident. . . I hope you have had a good visit and come back soon. 

So, in honor of the 4th birthday of Out Of The Right Brain, help me get to 100 Followers by the end of February.  At the end of February, I will give away a handmade coffee cozy. . . just for you!  

Feel free to share my blog as much as possible.  

Enjoy the rest of your week!  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Delicious fudge-y brownies

Okay, so this is a week that needs chocolate.  Some weeks just call for it, right?  And it's not that anything bad is going on, It's just a week that screams chocolate! I am thankful for these leftovers (I made them on Valentines Day. . . and took the leftovers to Bible Study this morning).  They were delicious.   I have been on the search for a yummy fudge brownie recipe, and I am getting closer.  Most call for things I generally don't keep in the pantry all the time, whereas this recipe called for ingredients I most always have on hand. . . staples, shall we say.  They were really good, super chocolatey, and nice and rich. . . perfect brownies.  Trust me when I say they were perfect. . . I don't lie.

Fudge Brownies
from Yammie's Noshery (seriously, lovin' the word Noshery, by the way!)

2 sticks of butter
2 1/4 cups of sugar
4 large eggs 
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups of cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips 

Grease your favorite 9x13 inch pan and preheat the oven to 350ยบ.
Mix together the butter and sugar in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave, stirring about every 30 seconds, until the mixture is bubbly and smooth (this took 5 to 6 times). Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix together the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and flour and add to the butter mixture, mixing until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for about 28 minutes. 

Enjoy!  They really are delicious!  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Weston turned 2: alphabet style

My baby boy turned 2 years old last week.  I can't begin to describe how quickly it is going for this little boy.  I think Ethan's first 2 years seemed to go slightly slower (still quick, but not warp speed like the past 2 years have gone!).  We celebrated his birthday on Friday as a small family by going to Sky Walk Trampoline Park (Totally Awesome!) and then naps.  Saturday was the party where we invited family and some friends.  
 I love throwing parties and this year my wonderful husband gave me a budget. . . a small one.  I had to throw a party for Weston for 100 dollars.  Yep.  I was incredibly frustrated at first because I didn't want him to grow up thinking that his older brother got all the cool parties and he didn't (although his first birthday was awesome, if you ask me).  But then I got started, made a plan, and started getting ready.  And believe it or not, I came out at about 120 dollars, including food.
I made this W for the front door with the help of my husband.  He cut out a w out of a diaper box and I covered it in red tissue paper that we had laying around.

I loved the table.  I bought a stack of fun paper from JoAnns when they were on sale for half off (best deal. . . ever!) and that played the center for it.  I used my cricut and cut out every single letter (I must have messed up on o, because we didn't even know it was missing until we were hanging it up and at 1:00 am, we just wanted to go to bed).  For food, I did caramel popcorn, Funfetti popcorn, ABC cookes (Trader Joe's), Chips and Guac, spinach dip, and artichoke dip, plus a veggie platter, some candy and goldfish.
I went simple with the drinks and did lemonade and iced tea.  I had some Subway Art (check out my Pinterest Board, Let's throw a Party) and a questionaire that I printed at Costco and framed with some IKEA frames I had laying around.

The cupcakes were chocolate with a ganache glaze and then a whipped cream frosting topped with alphabet sprinkles (I found them here).
The W is a cardboard one from JoAnns.  It only ended up costing about 3 dollars because they were on sale the day I bought them.  I then used paper from the same pack that I did the banner with and cut strips and modged podged them on to the W.

I made the W is for Weston digital art using my Creative Memories software and then printed an 8x10 at Costco.
Favors were fun crayons.  All I did was buy a large box of crayons from Target and bagged them up in cello bags and decorated them with decorated tape (I love this stuff!).  They ended up being a big hit!
To give the kiddos something to do, I bought foam letters and let them glue them to construction paper and made some kool-aid play dough for them to cut letters out with.  

And here is my sweet, little 2 year old!  Happy Birthday to him!
He did a great job blowing out the candles!

Thanks for letting me share my baby's birthday with you.  I still can't believe that I did it for about 120 dollars.  Ethan has already picked his theme and I have already started getting ideas. . . because I have to stick to a low budget once again.  Enjoy your 3 day weekend!  I have a yummy treat coming soon. . . don't worry. :)


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