Thursday, January 28, 2010

This Texas Wedding: Rehearsal and Dinner

About the time I got done showering and getting ready all the family was starting to show up along with my other two bridesmaids.

They gave me a practice bouquet that Shannon had made.
(Don't ask about the face.)

I somehow ended up with all the ribbons and bows from my bridal shower at my house, so Shannon had to improvise! But I loved it! It even had a cute little veil on it!

While we were doing that, this is what Robert was doing.

Then Darcy got us all lined up.

There go the boys.

Then Robert's mom and stepdad.

Then my mom and brother.

There goes Shannon.
(She's about four months prego here!!)

Then Rebecca.

Then Melanie.
(See, I am not the only one with the weird faces!)

ADORABLE flowergirl, Susannah.

My dad and I have a moment together.

Haha, then we go!

Everyone all in their places.

Running through the ceremony.

After all that was done everyone headed into town for dinner. I can not tell you how hard figuring out rehearsal dinner was! I had my heart set on having it at the Gristmill, but after calling and finding out having a private part there would be almost as much as what we were spending in the wedding, I decided to look else where. Then I ran into the problem that not one of the restaurants I called would book a private party for a Friday night! I guess that is part of living in a small tourist town, all the restaurants want the tourists money.

I finally went by Pat's Place one afternoon and asked about a private party. The manager I talked to said that they did not take private parties either, but that have a large back room that they hardly ever seat on Friday nights. He said that if I just called about 30 minutes before getting there they would work on getting that room ready and clearing it out if anyone was in there. This turned out pretty good, we only had to wait about 20 minutes before getting seated. We had ONE WAITRESS for about 20 people, but she was amazing! The food was great and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

I am very sad that this is the only picture of Robert and I together after he put on "nice" clothes.

Next, I'll show you where I spent the night and what I did the morning of the wedding!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Symon Sundays: Take One

Ashlee, over on A Year in the Kitchen, started up a new cooking group called Symon Sundays. Everyone in the group picks out a set of recipes from Michael Symon's Live to Cook, then everyone in the group cooks it and blogs about their experience with the recipes.

Ashlee picked the first recipe set: keftedes (meatballs) and slow-roasted beets with buttermilk blue cheese, watercress and toasted walnuts (beet salad).

I have a confession before I start my take on the two recipes, I don't really know who Michael Symon is. Whew, ok that is out there. I hope everyone is still going stick with me! I mean, I am pretty sure I have seen him on Iron Chef a few times, right? But I don't watch Food Network that much nor do I visit their website that much. With all that being said, I was super excited about this opportunity! I love trying new things, but am sometimes scared to, so I viewed this as a chance to try out something I know nothing about!

Ok, now that that is out of the way, lets get onto my experience!

The first thing I did was read each ingredient list and recipe directions very carefully. I felt pretty comfortable with the keftedes. The beet salad was a wholenother story! I have never eaten beets, much less even heard of golden beets! See? New things already! So, I made my shopping list and headed off to the my local grocery store. Now, I live in a smallish Texas town, population around 50,000. Not tiny, but not big enough for a Central Market or Whole Foods! I figured I was going to run into a few issues with some of the ingredients, which left me with two options:

Option One
Drive 45 minutes to an hour to get to the nearest store that would have all the needed ingredients.

Option Two
Work with what I could get at my local HEB (grocery store).

What would you choose?

I chose Option Two and here were my results:

No ground coriander

Beet Salad:
No golden beets - just double the amount of red beets
No Roth Kase Buttermilk Blue or Maytag blue cheese - picked up a container of Salemville Amish Blue Cheese
No watercress - substituted arugula

Not too bad, right?

I ended up with two pretty good dishes still, so I say I did pretty good.

The keftedes I would totally make again.* Robert liked them too, although as soon as he tried one he said "these would be great with some ketchup!" The beet salad is an iffy one. I am a big texture eater and no matter how delicious something might look/smell/taste if it has a funky texture it can not be my friend. The beets were borderline not my friend. But I think a lot of that had to do with how big the beet chunks were in the salad, next time I will chop the beets much smaller. I really loved the sweet dressing of the salad especially against the peppery taste of the arugula and tangy blue cheese.

Ashlee should have the recipes posted over on her blog, so head on over there and check out her take on it!

*I totally spaced while at HEB and forgot to buy more onions! Who forgets to buy onions?! Apparently I do. Since it's at least a 30 minute drive from our house to HEB (did I mention I also live out in the country in my smallish town?) I figured I would just have to forgo the onion. But on a whim I drove the 5 minutes to our local Sac-n-Pac gas station to see if they happened to have onions, and what do you know, they did! They also have potatoes, tomatoes and garlic!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Homemade Oreos

What do we have here?

Lets take a closer look...

That's right, homemade Oreos. Wanna see the filling? Ok.

I have to say the filling tastes exactly like a true Oreo filling, it's amazing. I, obviously, tinted it pink to get in the valentine's day mood.

Homemade Oreos

smitten kitchen (Adapted from Retro Desserts)

Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
  2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
  4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
  5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.

A few things I did different/would do different:
I added a splash of milk to the filling to get it to all combine, this could be because my butter was not soft enough, but it worked great. I would also cut the cooking time by a minute or two. The cookies came out very crispy, not burnt, just crispy. Now I know Oreos are pretty crisp, but I tend to like a softer cookie, so next time I will cut a few minutes off.


Friday, January 22, 2010

This Texas Wedding: The days before

During my whole wedding planning process I read Weddingbee religiously. I came to notice that every bee had a "title" for their wedding recaps, so I have decided to follow along that theme. And what fits better with This Texas Life than This Texas Wedding! So, lets start!

Robert and I both took off work the Thursday and Friday before the wedding. Thursday was pretty calm, well as calm as it can be 2 days before a wedding! (I had stayed up until 5am Thursday morning working on assembling the programs and some other last minute things. As late as that sounds it went by pretty quickly, however I do not recommend this!) We ran to San Antonio to pick up the tuxes, I'm sure we made a trip to Lowes and a few other odds and ends. My parents and brother and Robert's brother came into town that day. Haha, I remember sending my mom back to their hotel room with programs to finish up!

Friday started off early. 6am to be precise, wanna know why? Cause that's when the port-a-potties were being delivered. So, bleary eyed we stumbled out to the driveway to direct where the facilities needed to go. After showering and getting dressed we headed back into town to finish up a few more errands. This is when we noticed it was cloudy and damp. Quick back story, so after record breaking droughts in Texas all summer, October was making up for it. Every weekend the month leading up the wedding was miserable. But when we kept checking the weather everything said that the 17th was going to be amazing. So we did not let the weather get us down!

Once we got back home the sun was shinning, it was cool and everything was looking great! While Robert and his brother headed to go buy new boots for the brother, my mom and I started setting up centerpiece boxes. This is a really good idea, especially if you are not going to be around to oversee the table set up or are not doing it the night before. What we did was we took a banana box for each table and put everything that needed to go on that table in it. While doing this Rebecca arrived and the rental company arrived with all the tables and chairs!

We rolled all the tables to the yard.

We started setting up the buffet tables on the porch.

Around this time Darcy, our amazing DOC/friend, arrived. So, after giving her a quick run down of what all was going on it was time for me to go shower and get ready for the rehearsal!

How much setting up work did you get done the days leading up to your wedding?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Goodbye 2009... Hello 2010!

So, I know we are 20 days into 2010, but I have had all these thoughts bouncing around in my head that I figured I should get down on paper.

First off, I want to state why 2009 was such and AMAZING year, like one for the record books! 2009 started off with quite the bang, I was freshly engaged, woohoo! Sometimes I still have to pinch myself about this one, I mean if you had told me 3 years ago I would getting married to a cowboy boot wearing, pickup truck driving, why yes I do have the Texas flag tattooed on me man I probably would of laughed in your face! Oh, how time changes a person, and I am so happy I changed with the help of my cowboy boot wearing husband.

After tossing around wedding ideas, looking at venues, getting pricing from various vendors and freaking out over how we were going to pay for a wedding we pushed wedding planning off for a while. While not wedding planning, we started house hunting! (I know what you are thinking, "if you are freaking out over paying for a wedding, how are you going to pay for a house!?") But somehow buying our amazing house lead to our amazing wedding.

Now I get to drive through these gates everyday, and it's great.

In between the house buying and wedding we took a trip to Las Vegas, the first for both of us! It was a lot of fun! The one thing I would do different when we go again is to not be so tight with our money. Well, I will still probably be hitting that "print ticket" button anytime Robert doubles his money! But I mean I will loosen up to go out to a nice dinner (although we ate lunch at the Harley Davidson restaurant one day and it was amaaazing) and go to a nice show. I really wanted to see a show with showgirls while we were there and missed that.

Then there was the amazing wedding. Can I just take a moment and tell you all that it was all worth it. Every time I wanted to throw in the towel and just head down to the JP, every time I almost cried over a project not going the way I wanted it to, every time I got frustrated with Robert, every time I had to write a check, it was all worth it!

On that note, I am going to be recapping our wedding over the next several posts. I really want to do this so I have some place to look back on later on in life and go over everything that happened that day, because, honestly, it's still a blur!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Look!

Wow, talk about an amazing blog makeover! New year, more blogging, I needed something pretty to look at when I post. All of this is thanks to Amanda's tutorials over at kevin & amanda.

Thanks Amanda!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The best way to welcome in the New Year!

Yesterday day was a pretty lazy day around these parts. We slept lateish, watched the Rose Parade, took a nap, watched District 9 and ate lots of yummy food!

We started off with Hashbrown Casserole. I first ate this at my aunts house 3 Christmases ago and almost immediately asked for the recipe. It super simple and can be thrown together the night before.

Hashbrown Casserole
1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 stick margarine melted
1 (1 lb 14 oz) bag hash browns
1 lb ground beef or sausage
1 pkg shredded cheddar & monterrey jack cheese

While browning ground beef or sausage, mix first six ingredients together. Then drain and add the cooked meat to the mixture, stirring well. Put in 9x13 casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over the top and return to oven until cheese melts, about 5 more minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes before serving.

It was almost better reheated this morning than it was to begin with yesterday.

After napping and watching District 9 I decided to make these cookie bars I saw earlier in the week, with lots of help from Robert.

The Mother Load Layered Cookie Bars
Picky Plate via kevin & amanda

First you put down a layer of sugar cookie dough

Then you press chocolate-chocolate chip cookie dough on-top of the sugar cookie

Next is the peanut butter layer, possibly my favorite layer

Finally is the chocolate chip cookie dough layer

And this is what it looks like all baked

The recipe says you can drizzle melted chocolate chips across the whole thing, but that is a little too much for me, ha, this whole thing is a little too much! After Robert had his first bite he said "that bite is enough for anyone!"

Friday, January 1, 2010

Two yummy things I made today

I'll talk about both of these tomorrow.