Monday, November 30, 2009

Rustic chic centerpiece

I spent Saturday morning with my sister running all over town to get supplies to make centerpieces for my upcoming company holiday party. My company throws a helluva holiday party each year and I have been on planning committee for five years now (I'm sure you're not surprised).

This party is amazing each year; everyone dresses up, has cocktails (including a signature martini that flows down an ice luge), eats a delicious meal and dances to a live band. I can't wait! And thanks for my friend/coworker, Allison (who went shopping with me last week) I now have a fabulous dress to wear.

Back to the centerpieces, as you can see in the photos below, they are very rustic with a touch of chic. The theme for our party is "Rustic Chic Hunting Lodge", it may sound a bit out there, but we have a great creative team that dreamed this up and brought it to life with save-the-dates, invitations, posters, a website for rsvp-ing and also with decor ideas. We are going to have huge cardboard animal heads hanging at the venue and also smaller ones that will be incorporated into the centerpieces.

The centerpiece below is one of three that will be at the party. The other two are being created by Tara from A Day in Provence, an amazing florist that does the design of our party each year (she was also the florist for my wedding). We found this centerpiece below from Once Wed, a great wedding blog that contains step by step instructrions for DIY projects. It fits perfectly into our theme.

It's a good thing I love event planning because there are times when all the little details can get a bit frustrating (I'm referring to the 30 minute wait at JoAnn Fabrics and then having to run to Michael's, The Dollar Store and Wal-Mart to find enough of the cylinder vases). In the end, I'm sure it will be worth it.

The party is in less than two weeks and I'll be doing a full post on all its fabulousness.



{Photo credit: Once Wed}

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Brunch and mimosas

Weekend mornings often mean a big breakfast with eggs, bacon, toast and coffee with my honey. They sometimes also include my girlfriends for brunch complete with mimosas.

I found this mimosa recipe on Martha Stewart's website. Now, I know what you're thinking...who needs a recipe for mimosas? All you need is orange juice plus sparkling wine (prosecco, cava, champagne, etc) and poof, you have a mimosa. Well, that certainly works and has been the approach my girlfriends and I have taken for years, but I am curious to try the recipe below. It includes freshly squeezed orange juice, lemon juice, orange-flavored liqueur and a mint leaf. That sounds pretty amazing to me.

Mimosa (recipe below makes one cocktail, which seems sort of ridiculous...I mean, who only drinks one mimosa?)

Ingredients

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
Prosecco, chilled
Fresh mint leaf

Directions

In a Champagne flute, mix together orange juice, lemon juice, and liqueur. Fill with Prosecco. Garnish with mint leaf and serve immediately.



{Photo credit: Martha Stewart}

And speaking of brunch, I am off to Dixies on Grand in St. Paul for their Sunday Champagne Brunch with my mom and sister. Did I mention it includes a bottomless glass of champagne??? Erik is tailgating and going to the Vike's game today and I'll be hanging with the ladies. What a lovely Sunday. I hope you all have one as well!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Barcelona hot chocolate

As it gets colder here in Minnesota, what better way to enjoy the winter than inside the warmth of your own house, with a fire blazing in the fireplace (or at my house, we burn candles in the fireplace) and a cup of this Barcelona Hot Chocolate from Cooking Light.

This recipe caught my eye because it incorporates coffee. Sure, you can run to the coffee shop down the street and grab a mocha but how amazingly indulgent would this homemade hot chocolate be?

If I had dark or bittersweet chocolate at home I'd make it right now. I will definitely be adding that to my grocery list for the week.

Barcelona Hot Chocolate

Ingredients
2/3 cup boiling water
2 ounces good-quality dark or bittersweet (60 to 70 percent cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 cup brewed espresso or strong coffee
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 2-inch piece orange rind strip
1/4 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
Cocoa powder (optional)

Preparation
Combine 2/3 cup boiling water and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan, stirring until chocolate melts. Add milk and next 4 ingredients (through rind); cook over medium-low heat, stirring with a whisk. Heat 5 minutes or until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan, stirring frequently (do not boil). Discard rind. Pour 1 cup mixture into each of 4 mugs. Spoon 1 tablespoon whipped topping over each serving. Dust with cocoa powder, if desired.


{Photo credit: My Recipes / Cooking Light, Randy Mayor}

Friday, November 27, 2009

Roasted turkey and proscuitto pizza

Thanksgiving is officially over. I hope you had a wonderday day. Erik and I had a great Thanksgiving, we made it over to my parent's house bright and early and had the turkey in the oven by 9am. I'll have a full post on all our Thanskgiving day food, fun and decor on Monday.

In the meantime, I wanted to share this pizza recipe I found from My Recipes / Cooking Light because I'm sure you have plenty of leftover turkey and need something to do with it. I haven't tried this recipe yet, but plan to over the weekend.

Roasted turkey and proscuitto pizza

Ingredients
1 (12-ounce) prebaked pizza crust (such as Mama Mary's)
3/4 cup tomato and basil pasta sauce
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
1 cup shredded cooked turkey breast
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup torn arugula leaves
3 slices prosciutto, finely chopped (about 2 ounces)
Preparation
Preheat oven to 425°.

Place crust on a baking sheet. Spread sauce over crust; sprinkle with fontina. Toss turkey with vinegar. Top pizza with turkey, onion, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and pepper.

Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until crust is browned. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with arugula and prosciutto


Photo credit to My Recipes / Cooking Light

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Real wedding: Heather and Justin, October 2009

I have a gorgeous fall wedding to share with you today that is packed full of amazing little details. Heather and Justin were married on October 9, 2009 at a church in St. Paul with a reception at the Summit Manor. I don't know if there is a more perfect venue for a fall wedding then a mansion on Summit Ave in St. Paul.

Many of the elements of this wedding were DIY, which helps with budget and adds a personal touch. The bride and groom had dried rye pots to line the entry way to the church and up at the alter. The favors were homemade maple syrup, apple butter, and strawberry jam. The metal leaves in the photo below are actually real leaves dipped in copper and were worn by the women in place of corsages. Amazing!

All of the photos were taken by Ben Berndt Photography and Dana Schoppe.


This is gorgeous.






Monday, November 23, 2009

Kristin's wedding inspiration board

As a gal who loves all things wedding-related, I am pretty lucky right now to have my two best friends engaged and in the middle of planning their weddings. Kristin's wedding will be local, in downtown St. Paul next September with an eclectic feel of both modern and vintage with a super unique color scheme of pewter, red and tiffany blue. Amy's wedding is in Washington DC next October and is going to be a 4-day extravaganza of a western/christian wedding (eco-themed) and a pretty traditional Indian ceremony and reception. I am very excited for both weddings!

Kristin came over yesterday for a fabulous brunch (mushroom shallot quiche, homemade waffles, mimosas and bloody marys, more on that to come in a post later this week) and we sat down and tackled her inspiration board.

Kristin's ceremony is going to be held at a Catholic church in South Minneapolis followed by a reception at the MN History Center. The MN History Center has amazing architecture and a unique space that allows for a cocktail hour held on the balcony, followed by dinner in an open rotunda and dancing with views of the capital.

I love the details Kristin is planning for her day, gorgeous red flowers, candles in mason jars for a romantic feel and how amazing is that cake? We found that from The Cake Girls and hopefully it can be replicated at a local bakery in the Twin Cities.

Oh and did I mention I am Kristin's matron of honor?! Very excited.

I've said this before but I love love love inspiration boards. They are very easy to make and really bring a vision to life.


Photo credits to: Casablanca Bridal, Cake Girls, The Knot, Just Bloomed, Martha Stewart, Tiffany, Watters and Watters and Florrie Mitton Couture.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Weekend edition: Thanksgiving inspiration board

I have a feeling that Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for a lot of people. It certainly is a favorite of mine. What's not to love about it? You get time off work, an excuse to stuff yourself silly with comforting, warm and delicious food, hours baking and preparing the meal, spending time with family and friends, the list could go on and on.

And the best part is, Thanksgiving is just a few days away. So excited! My family tradition is each year we gather at my parent's house with immediate family, significant others and my aunt. There are never more than about 10-12 of us but the house is chaotic anyway, full of lively chatter, banging into each other in the kitchen, sounds of football and my father and husband cheering it on. Erik and I prepare and roast the turkey each year. We get over to my parent's house bright and early (around 7am) and in the past have done a parmesan sage turkey recipe that usually turns out moist and delicious. My sister makes mashed potatoes, my aunt does the stuffing, my brothers basically just eat and my mom makes her delicious pumpkin roll. Oh, and I can't forget the champagne sparklers we have each year which is basically prosecco and pomegrante juice. Delicious.

This inspiration board below is from The Sweetest Occasion blog. I just love the warm colors, the picture-perfect pie, and the gorgeous menu board.

If you have a moment, please share your Thanksgiving tradition in the comments section. I'd love to hear them!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts didn't have a very good rap growing up in my house. My mom used to tell stories about how her parents would make her stay at the dinner table until her brussel sprouts were gone. My mom hated brussel sprouts. Her parents must never have cooked them using this recipe below.

My friend Libby made this brussel sprout recipe the other night for dinner in addition to roasted potatotes and chicken. It was a pretty simple meal, but hardy and delicious. I have to admit this was only my second time ever eating brussel sprouts (first was just a couple weeks ago at Cafe Lurcat), what can I say? I listen to my momma. But since giving them a chance they have quickly climbed up to being one of my top fave veggies.

Brussels Sprouts with Crisp Prosciutto (recipe from Cookinglight.com)

Ingredients

3 cups trimmed halved Brussels sprouts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup chopped prosciutto (about 1 1/2 ounces)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preparation

Cook Brussels sprouts in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add prosciutto. Cook 6 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan; set aside.

Heat pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add butter, salt, and pepper, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat; drizzle with juice. Add prosciutto; toss to combine.

Note: Pull off any limp outer leaves, and closely trim the stem end-don't cut too much off, or the Brussels sprouts may fall apart."


{Photo credit: above two are from my crappy camera}


{Photo credit: Cooking Light, Randy Mayor}

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Twilight!

I have a fun post today for all you Twilight lovers out there and thought what better day than today to talk about all things Bella, Edward and Jacob (I am team Jacob so had to throw him into the mix).

My cute sister (on the right in the first photo below) threw her friend a Twilight-themed birthday party a few months ago. The details of this party were pretty simple, but awesome and included:

Blood-red apples in cylinder vases
Black and red cupcakes
Red drinks with "I'm thirsty" and "Type A" labels on them
Lots of candles in red vases

The inspiration came from a party posted on Hostess with the Mostess blog, which you can find here along with all the great printable items pictured below.




Here are the pics that inspired my sister from Hostess Blog.




And I couldn't resist including this Twilight-themed wedding that was actually just a photo shoot and featured on the Wedding Chicks blog.

How amazing is this? I love the dark red flowers, the added glamour with the dripping crystals and the dramatic bride with her red lipstick.



I can't wait to see New Moon tomorrow at noon! AAAHHHH!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Real wedding: Amanda and Steve, July 2009

As we head into the long months of winter, I have a lovely summer wedding to share with you today. Amanda and Steve were married in July 2009 at the McNamara Alumni Center at the U of M. This is a favorite venue for many MN brides with its gorgeous tall ceilings and unique architecture, not to mention the exclusive caterer is D'Amico and Sons, who never disappoints.

The photographer was Jenny Hansen of Divine Photography and Sweet Peas Floral was behind all the beautiful flowers. Amanda also had a unique color scheme of peridot and purple. My favorite detail of this weekend is the all the candles placed around the ledges at the reception.

Below is just a sampling of some of Amanda's favorite photos from her wedding day.


The gorgeous bouquets.





These candles bring a soft, romantic feel to the room.

Amanda and Steve did a non-traditional dessert of dark chocolate cheesecake and strawberry shortcake. How good does that look?

Latte art

I've been to Black Sheep Cafe two weekends in a row because I am a coffee fiend, love breakfast food and enjoy spending lazy mornings at cafes. My mom, sister, aunt and sister-in-law had a "ladies morning" and met for coffee on Sunday.

Unfortunately, Black Sheep was out of quiche (get there early, they only served it on the weekend mornings!) but did create some beautiful latte art for us to enjoy.

Check out the lattes my mom and I ordered below, how cool is that?! Click here for the post on Black Sheep from a few days ago.



The huge cupcake my mom had for breakfast. Yum!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lovely Scribbles blog and giveaway

You may have checked out the Lovely Scribbles link I have posted to the left under my "fave blogs". Lovely Scribbles is a blog all about calligraphy and design and the writer/creator/owner is my very own sister-in-law, Nikki.

Check out her blog for great ideas on home decor, tablescape inspiration for your next dinner party as well as if you need a calligraphy service (her business is just starting out and her pricing is great!).

Today she is featuring a placecard giveaway for one lucky winner, be sure stop by and comment to win!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Banana oat muffins

Looking for a good muffin recipe? I made these banana oat muffins a couple days ago on my day off. There is nothing like waking up to an entire morning stretched before you with no plans. Not only did I have time to bake all morning, I was able to sit and enjoy the muffins and a cup of coffee with my husband, my sister and friend Libby. What a perfect morning.

Banana Oat Muffins (recipe from Honey and Jam blog)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or half white/half wheat)
1 cup rolled oats (I used regular oatmeal)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas

Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt in a medium bowlIn a large bowl, beat the egg lightly. Stir in the milk, oil, and vanilla. Add the mashed banana, and combine thoroughly. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper bake cups, and divide the batter among them.Bake at 400 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes.



{Photo credits: above photos are from my crappy camera}



{Photo credit: the two above gorgeous photos are from Honey and Jam}