Monday, August 31, 2009

Adorable Idea: Popcorn Bar

The new issue of the fantabulous e-zine Utterly Engaged came out yesterday, and one of the many adorable features was the idea to do a popcorn bar for your guests! Everyone loves popcorn - and the toppings they suggested sound sooo delish - caramel, chocolate, chili oil, rosemary salt, garlic and salt, m&m's. They made clear cones out of transparency sheets (you can find these at an office supply store) and then photo copied them with a flourish graphic. Genius.

All Photos by Bonnie Tsang Photography via Utterly Engaged. Design by Summer Watkins of Grey Likes Weddings, D*LSH Design.

Invitations: Martha Stewart for Crane

I spent Sunday morning browsing Martha Stewart's new line of wedding invitations for Crane and Co., and I have to say that if I had a bigger stationery budget and this beauty of a paper collection was around when I was planning my wedding, I just might had to have gone with Martha. This collection proves that color can be formal and that a little design never hurt anyone!

Here's some of the highlights of the goodies in the line -

Calligraphy Bird:

Save The Date, From $207 for 25
Invitation Suite, From $228 for 25
Menu Card, From $197 for 25

Scalloped Framed Sea Mist (and the ones I'm loving):

Save the Date, From $205 for 25
Invitation Suite, From $217 for 25

Cartouche (shown in Aqua but comes in White and Espresso):

Save the Date, From $179 for 25
Invitation Suite, From $191 for 25

Birds Nesting:

Invitation Suite, From $150 for 25

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sweet Treats: Citrus Cupcakes

I am feeling like making some summery cupcakes today. Here's some citrus recipes I might try... The lemon cupcakes are actually on the diet I'm attempting, so I'll most likely be making those. They could be great for a shower or bridesmaid's luncheon!

Lemon Cupcakes with Citrus Icing from Flat Belly Diet Cookbook
** I just made these, and they are too delicious to be diet food!
1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup safflower oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
2. To prepare the cupcakes: Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Combine the oil, eggs, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl. Add to the flour mixture and stir until smooth.
3. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and bake for 17 to 19 minutes or until lightly golden and the cupcakes are springy when gently touched. Place pan on a rack and let cook for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan, transfer to the rack, and let cool completely.
4. To prepare the icing: Combine the confectioners' sugar, orange juice, and orange zest in a bowl and stir until smooth. Spread some of the glaze over each cupcake with a small spatula and let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition per Serving : 316 calories, 3 g protein, 45 g carbohydrates, 15 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 183 mg sodium, 0.5 g fiber

Key Lime Cupcakes from Bon Appetit
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1/4 teaspoon neon-green food coloring
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Whisk both flours in medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then next 3 ingredients (batter may look curdled). Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Spoon scant 1/3 cup batter into each liner.
Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool.
Beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth. Spread over cupcakes.
**I would sprinkle key lime zest on the top of the frosted cupcakes for more flavor and for the prettiness factor.

Triple-Citrus Cupcakes from Martha Stewart
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 3 lemons)
3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest (from 2 oranges)
3 tablespoons finely grated lime zest, plus more for garnish (from 3 limes)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
9 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon finely grated citrus zest, such as orange, lemon, or lime
3 tablespoons fresh citrus juice, such as orange, lemon, or lime
Whisk all ingredients until smooth and combined. Use immediately.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl every few minutes. Add citrus zests. Reduce speed to medium, and add vanilla. Add eggs, three at a time, beating until until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in four batches, beating until completely incorporated after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full; tap pans on countertop once to distribute batter. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, dip tops of cupcakes in glaze, then turn over quickly and garnish with zest. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
Makes 36.

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes with Limoncello Frosting from Giada De Laurentiis

1 box chocolate cake mix
Orange juice (instead of water in cake mix)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 cup diced candied orange peel (about 8 ounces)
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened (1/2 stick)
2 tablespoons limoncello (you can substitute with 2 tablespoons lemon juice for minors)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 orange, zested
1/4 cup finely diced candied orange peel, for garnish
Special equipment: cupcake liners, 2 muffin pans
CUPCAKES: mix the chocolate cake mix according to package instructions, substituting orange juice for the water. Toss the chocolate chips with the flour. Fold the chocolate chips and the candied orange peel into the chocolate mixture. Line the muffin pan with the cupcake liners. Fill and bake the cupcakes according to package instructions. Let the cupcakes cool for 1 hour on a wire rack before frosting.
FROSTING: combine all the ingredients except the candied orange peel in a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Using a small spatula, place about 1 tablespoon of frosting on top of each cupcake. Top with a small sprinkle of candied orange peel.
Makes 24.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Inspiration Board: Countryside Elegance

I love the picture in the meadow of wildflowers by Marianne Taylor, and wanted to build an inspiration board around an elegant yet countryside-quaint theme. A blend of yellows and pinks with a royal blue mixed in for a surprising pop of color set the tone. Pairing Manolo Blahnik "something blue" shoes with alfresco dining, wild floral arrangements and french macaroons are just some of the elegant touches for this event.

Photo Credits: All photos via Style Circle. Clockwise from top left: Couple in meadow photo by Marianne Taylor, flower in vase photo by Jose Villa from Oh How Charming!, macaroon photo from Distinct Occasions, tablescape by Oh How Charming! and photo by Jose Villa, flowers from Custom Event Group, "something blue" Manolo Blahnik photo by Jose Villa, ring in ring bearer bowl by Paloma's Nest from Ariel Yve Design, blue chair photo by Jose Villa, hibiscus iced tea photo from Simply Sparkling Events.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Inspiration Board: Formal Dessert Reception

I love the idea of having a formal black tie dessert reception for a wedding! It allows you to go over the top with what everyone looks forward to at a wedding anyways - the decadent desserts. It allows you to have dancing, decor, champagne, cocktails and dessert while saving money on a full dinner and bar. By starting the wedding after 7 and indicating "dessert reception" on the invitation, you allow your guests to grab something to eat before. A soft yet sophisticated palette of blush, white, and black sets the tone for the stylishly sweet evening.

Images from: Details Details, Mok Duk by Anne Benjamin, Holland Photo Arts, Ariel Yve Design

Real Wedding: Liz and Andy

I had been so excited to see what this couple's wedding would turn out like after I saw their amazing engagement session with Megan W Photography (who is quickly becoming a Marry You Me favorite!). The wedding of Liz and Andy didn't disappoint. Held at The Indianapolis Central Library, in Indianapolis, Indiana, this July affair had lots of style and love. (So much love, in fact, that it was hard to find pics of the cute couple not kissing!) I love the amount of black and white photographs also, it just adds a timeless, classic quality to wedding photos.

I love that they got ready among the stacks of books!

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