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Let Them Eat Cake!

18 Nov

Today’s post is going to be about a new favorite topic… wedding cake!  I have found this to be one of my favorites parts of planning for my wedding!  For anyone with a sweet tooth, how can it not be?  Luckily, Chris shares my sweet tooth so we had a lot of fun throwing around ideas and plotting and planning.

A few months ago, I came across an article about Queen Victoria’s wedding cake in Entertainment Weekly.  Her wedding is credited for being the first to have a cake. And it’s pretty ornate!

I couldn’t find a picture online, but here is Queen Elizabeth’s cake:

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Princess Grace Kelly of Morocco:

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Prince Pavlov of Greece and Marie Chantal Miller:

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I love the scalloped design and the fresh, pretty colors! The cake at a wedding can be a real show stopper, if it’s done right. When we were planning, my mom bought the Martha Stewart’s Wedding Cakes book, and we had a blast pouring over the pages, drooling over the decadent and well-executed cakes! Here are some of my favorites:

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I love the delicate, feminine look of this cake. The French Madeline cookies, the pink icing, the decor on the upper edge of each layer. A scaled down version of this would be perfect for a bridal or baby shower!

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This cake is ornate! No novices could pull this off, but it still has a simple, understated look that keeps it from seeming too intricate.

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This was one of my favorites. I love the rustic simplicity of this cake, and how it still manages to look elegant and refined. This was a design we considered for our wedding cake! We eventually wound up going with something else but I plan to make a smaller version of this!

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This served as an inspiration for the Groom’s Cake. For those who don’t know of this tradition, the Groom’s cake is another cake served at the wedding that the bride has made based on the tastes, hobbies, and interests of the Groom. Sometimes it’s a surprise, but it doesn’t have to be. This is a tradition that originated in the South. I kept the cake topper for ours a secret from Chris, but told him about the flavors I had planned. He loves chocolate and peanut butter, so he was a little hesitant when I didn’t want to consider chocolate for our wedding cake. Our groom’s cake was chocolate, with peanut butter ganache filling and rippled chocolate icing, like in the above picture. The bakers gilded fruit that my mom and aunt found with gold food powder, and used nuts, greenery, and red berries to top both the groom’s cake and the wedding cake. Perched in the middle of the groom’s cake was a small figurine of Chris’ beloved corgi, Snuffy.

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My aunt, Jill, is a master chef and baker. She was originally going to bake both the wedding cake and groom’s cake, but we ran into issues with the logistics. She still made a killer pumpkin spice cake for my bridesmaids’ luncheon!

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©2012 Verite Creative

Now that I’ve indulged myself in a little sweet talk today, time to go clean… the mound of clothes in the laundry hamper isn’t going to wash itself! More related articles below!

Pumpkin Cupcakes

27 Sep

So I’ve mentioned Pinterest a lot lately – I kind of love it.  It’s such a guilty pleasure.  Pinning places that I want to visit, things I could never afford for my imaginary home, and clothes that cost more than my rent each month is highly enjoyable.  I also love the fact that the site has lots of DIY ideas for things around the house and innovative recipes!  I came across one a month ago for pumpkin cupcakes.  It’s extremely simple, just two ingredients.  A box of yellow cake mix and an 8 oz. can of pumpkin pie mix, combined in a large mixing bowl and beaten for a few minutes until fluffy.  Go-GO KitchenAid Mixer, whipped these up in no time!  I used storebought vanilla frosting for them, but they would also be great with cream cheese frosting.  Also used Halloween cupcake wrappers to make them more festive!  YUM!

S’mores and Chocolate

21 Sep

Pinterest has some of the most creative, delicious recipes that I’ve ever seen. One of these is a French twist on an American Classic… s’more croissants!  I have some in the oven right now.

Picture taken from Northern Cottage

To see the recipe on Northern Cottage, click here.

And now for the more serious portion of this particular post. S’mores are part of a camping memory that many Americans cherish from their childhood. Every day, children in Africa are sold into slavery on the Ivory Coast to farm cocoa beans. Humanitarians and activists have been after the major chocolate companies to reduce the heinous practices that go into farming the cocoa bean, but it hasn’t been wiped out completely. Do your part to stop this, buy certified Fairtrade or Organic chocolate!

You can read more about the S’mores Campaign and child slavery on these sites:

LaborRights.org

CNN Freedom Projects

Stop Chocolate Slavery

Foodie Friday

16 Sep

 

Chris and I both LOVE PF Chang’s chicken lettuce wraps.  They are amazing, and anytime we order them, they are gone pretty quickly.  Since this is something that is relatively easy to make, I decided to try to make a healthier version at home by cutting out the noodles and doubling up on the veggies.

This week I made some lettuce wraps for dinner for Chris, Brad, and their friend Clark.  They were gone pretty quickly!

 

Recipe:

1/2 head of lettuce

1 lb lean ground turkey

1 T. toasted sesame see oil

1 package broccoli slaw

16-20 oz. frozen stirfry veggies without sauce

1 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts

6 oz. House of Tsang Bankok Padang Peanut Sauce

 

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.  Add turkey and let cook until brown.

2. Add vegetables.  Cover skillet and reduce heat to low.  The veggies are done when slightly limp.

3. Add peanuts and sauce.  Stir and let simmmer for a few minutes so the flavors can mix.

 

Serve on lettuce leaf, folded like a taco and enjoy! Refrigerates well.   This is also good on steamed rice.

Taste of the World

29 Aug
Since I’ve done a lot of cooking/baking lately, I thought I’d another one on food.

This is a picture taken in May at my parents’ house in Charleston.  This is the French String Beans recipe from the Barefoot Contessa’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook.  I love this cookbook!  We only had a yellow pepper on hand, so I just used one whole yellow pepper instead of 1/2 a red pepper.  I’ve made it with the red bell pepper and either way, it’s still a great, light dish perfect for a summer dinner after a day on the beach!

Before mixing the ingredients to make the dough
Letting them dry under the fan

Chris wanted gnocchi for his birthday dinner, and when I went to the grocery store the night before, wouldn’t you know they didn’t have any!  It was late enough that I didn’t want to try another store, so my Droid 2 came to the rescue!  After looking up this recipe by Michael Chiarello on foodnetwork.com, I realized the only thing I didn’t have on hand were potatoes so I picked those up and a bottle of sauce and was on my way!  I used whole wheat flour instead of white all-purpose and ready-grated parmesan because it was what I had.  I also found it was easier (for me) to peel the potatoes before baking them, then place them in a shallow dish with about 1 inch of water to be baked in the oven.  I made these the night before and froze them overnight.  When I got home from work, I let them sit on the counter for about 15 minutes while I waited for the water to come to a boil to poach them.  This was plenty of time for them to thaw!

I also made a Mexican Chocolate Snack Cake for a little party for Chris and his twin, Brad.  We decided on a Mexican Fiesta theme, so for dinner Chris’ sister-in-law made tacos and we all sipped on margaritas and Victoria beer.  By the way, if you have not tried Victoria, it is my new favorite.  Definitely worth checking out.    This cake is rich, decadent, and spicy.  I didn’t have Mexican chocolate, so I added an extra 2 oz of baking chocolate and wound up doubling the cayenne pepper (1/2 tsp. instead of 1/4).  I also melted a stick of SmartBalance 50/50 Buttery Spread and used this instead of vegetable oil.  I like my cake to have a nice buttery flavor!  Since one of Chris’ brothers doesn’t like nuts, only sprinkled them on top of half of the cake, then mixed up the rest of the ingredients for the streusel and poured them on top to bake.

This past Saturday morning I woke up and decided to make some banana muffins since I had a bunch of bananas that were about to go bad and wanted to enjoy them!  Banana Nut Bread has always been a favorite of mine, so this was something I made and tasted along the way.  I also added 1/2 cup of walnuts in mine and some extra spices.  These are only 4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus a piece, and they are a great start to the day!

Snack Time!

25 Aug

I’ve decided to add a food segment to my blog, even though it seems every blog has them and there are countless websites to share recipes. Not to mention I’ve started a few myself and then always wind up deleting them. So since I am already talking about things I love on this blog, it only makes sense to me to add one more. Especially since I enjoy cooking and trying new types of food, and love talking about it too! Also I read a friend from high school’s cooking blog recently and it inspired me to get back in the kitchen a little more.

So here’s my first food post, today it’s about a supermarket discovery I made. I love EarthFare, when I can afford it! Tuesday I was there at lunch time indulging in their goodies – smoked Gouda pasta and herbed pork! Came across their veggie hummus and thought it would make a great pre-workout snack. This hummus is not only a great bean dip, but it is also full of carrots, squash, and broccoli. I’ve been eating it with RW Garcia Classics Mixt Bag Blue & Yellow Tortillas. They are crunchy, delicious, and a Non-GMO Product (Genetically Modified Organism)! They are also Gluten Free for anyone out there watching that. I personally don’t but still take note of it because so many people talk about it these days.

Also found recipes for smoked Gouda pasta and herbed pork. Definitely see more of that in my future, it was amazingly good… together or separate!