Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sunday Bistro Dinner, Delicious and Easy!

Sometimes you just want to shake things up. So tonight instead of a big Sunday dinner I opted for a casual, easy Bistro dinner.  It was so delicious and simple to make I have to add to my list of favorite quick meals.

Mussels, cheese plate, steamed artichokes and french bread. Oh I almost forgot Stonewall Kitchen Fig and Ginger Jam.

Two pounds mussels scrubbed and de-bearded,  I love P.E.I mussels, so sweet!
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped
12 rainbow heirloom cherry tomatoes
1tablespoon chopped fresh thyme.
1tabelspoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup dry white wine

Saute olive oil, garlic and shallot for 5 minutes, don't brown. Add tomatoes and fresh herbs continuing to saute for another five minutes. Add wine,  cook on low for another five minutes.  Add mussels, stir, cover, continue cooking on low for ten minutes until until mussels open.

4 sprigs parsley
4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
2 lemons, cut in half
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water
1/2 cup white wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 whole artichokes

Put the parsley, garlic, bay leaves, lemons, wine, oil and broth in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Season the liquid with salt and pepper. In the meantime prepare the artichokes.

Wash artichokes under cold water. Using a heavy stainless steel knife, cut off the stems close to the base. Pull off the lower petals that are small and tough. Cut off the top inch of the artichoke and rub with half a lemon to preserve the green color.  If you wish, trim the thorny tips of the petals with kitchen shears.
Place the artichokes in the steaming liquid, bottom up. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. The artichokes are done when a knife is inserted into the base and there is no resistance.

Cheese Plate
You can add to the cheese plate, sliced fresh figs, nuts, etc.  Tonight I just made a simple plate of Brie, Roquefort and Parmesan.  Serve with  Stonewall Kitchen Fig and Ginger Jam and french bread.

A simply wonderful dinner!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

One Classy, Glamorous, Wedding in Shimmery Gold and Cream at the Fairmont Copley Plaza with out the normal Wedding drama!

How do I start to write about my daughter Mandi's wedding.  One year and a half in the planing plus putting all my heart and soul into creating just the right wedding to fit the couples personality and the venue. The wedding had to be dramatic, classy, fun, young, traditional with a modern flair.  Wow!  A gigantic task but I was more than happy to tackle the project.  
First, a little background: Mandi and Dan are two young actors living in LA pursuing their dreams of making it in the entertainment industry. Mandi is beautiful, bright, fun loving, wacky at times, with an iron will that can overcome all obstacles. Dan is handsome, smart, caring, the straight man to Mandi, so focused and supportive of their goals. Their love beautifully glows radiating out into the universe. Mandi and Dan met while attending Boston University with one of their special memories of their early romance attending the BU Ball at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. Having their wedding in the Grand Ballroom at the Fairmont Copley Plaza was meant to be!  

The Fairmont Copley Plaza is the grand dame of hotels in Boston.  Just over one hundred years old this elegant stately hotel is a breath taking jewel sparkling with a birthday renovation that while updating the rooms and public space preserved the 1912 ambiance. The gold and ivory gilded grand ballroom shimmers with the original Waterford Chrystal chandeliers reminiscent of the era the hotel was build. Think Edith Wharton's the Age of Innocence! I can see Newland Archer and Ellen Olenska waltzing across the dance floor.
I knew from the beginning that the venue would be the focal point of the wedding theme. The hotel and grand ballroom dictated that the wedding be classic, elegant, stately but not over the top. There is a fine line between just the right touches and taking to the point of being too much.  That was my job to walk that fine line with all the details coming together to create the theme of the wedding, classic, elegant, glamorous infused with lively personality of the bride and groom!  I was in my element.

We started the process by working with Heidi Jimenez of Zenadia Designs.  Heidi is the creative genius behind this custom one of a kind invitation company. She designed a gorgeous save the date that set the classic elegant theme for the wedding  along with a with a glamorous invitation invitation that invoked old style Hollywood elegance.(Fitting for two young actors!)
 Since Mandi and Dan lived in LA and the wedding was in Boston timing was crucial to facilitate all the pieces coming together just at the right time! Next on our list Mandi's wedding dress.  Her dress had to convey the theme of classic, elegant, timeless, with as I like to call it the Mandi touch! Who else could we turn to but Vera Wang! Mandi found the perfect dress on our second stop, a simply elegant mermaid style dress Vera Wang dress of tulle, french Chantilly lace, just absolutly perfect!

Mandi knew she wanted her bridesmaids to wear long elegant gold dresses that were glamorous, elegant, classic fitting in to her formal wedding. We found the perfect dresses at Bella Bridesmaids on Newbury Street in Boston.  At note here all the girls had the dresses tailored to fit perfectly!  Let's face it bridesmaid dresses regardless of the price need to be alter to fit all different shapes, heights and sizes.  One of the bridesmaids was eight months pregnant with the right alterations her dress looked like a custom maid maternity dress.

 Most important to any wedding once you set your feel, carry it through in all aspects of the wedding.  That feel is what set your wedding apart!  Gives it an individual personality that is your wedding alone.  Go with it, embrace it, feel it! Make it your own!
Next I start working on all the details for the wedding, flowers, program, place cards, favors, gift bags and more.  Anything to do with paper I go directly to the Paper Source. Not only is their paper, supplies the best quality, their staff is the best, creative, helpful, knowledgeable and just down right nice!  I used their shimmer gold, naturally, which I hand stamped and embossed with gold, accenting everything with crystals.

Using a tri-fold template which was really simple allowing me to three sides for printing all the information to be shared with the guest.

 Place Cards
Just purchased these place cards at the Paper Source. The staff sent me the template that they made to use with these place cards and it was so easy to print from my home computer!  Again I stamped, embossed in gold finishing off the look with crystals. Easy, simple, elegant!

Menus made with the same shimmery gold paper from the Paper Source, so easy and fun to make.  I purchased all the stamps and embossing materials there and printed on my home computer.  I am not a big tchotchke lover so I wanted simple, elegant favors reflecting the feel of the wedding.  And I wanted something for the groom cause face it sometimes the groom is lost in the big picture.  Dan the groom loves old fashion retro candy, bull's eyes, gummy candies, jellies. So we filled elegant gold boxes with an assortment of his favorites, put a sticker inside indicating that this was his favorite candy and sealed the box with a simple gold ribbon.  So perfect!
Weddings are so stress less when you  pick a theme that fits the couple and venue, carry it throughout, letting you just relax enjoying one of life's beautiful celebrations.   

So easy to order this birdcage, spray it to color coordinate to your theme, in our case gold, then decorate with hand stamped and embossed label. A beautiful accent to any wedding.

The day of the wedding was fun, stress-less, a wonderful celebration of two wonderful people.

Did I mention the cake!

Happily Ever After......

Monday, October 14, 2013

Savory Fruit and Nut Stuffing for Thanksgiving turkey

I love to add fall fruits to my holiday stuffing to capture the smells and flavor of the season. My Savory Fruit and Nut stuffing combines apples, pears, and cranberries with toasty pecans.  A wonderful addition to my stuffing favorites. You can either stuff the turkey or bake to serve. 

Savory Fruit and Nut  Stuffing

1/4 cup butter
2 cups chopped onions
1/4 cup celery
2 apples
2 pears
1cup fresh cranberries
12 cups dried bread cubes
4 eggs
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh snipped thyme
2 teaspoon dried sage or 2 teaspoons fresh snipped sage
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup pecans, chopped and toasted

In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook about 5 minutes until tender but not browned. Add apples, pears and cranberries; cook for 5 minutes more until apples are tender. Remove from heat.
In an extra large bowl toss together onion mixture and bread cubes. Let stand 10 minutes.
In a small bowl stir together eggs, broth, salt, thyme sage and pepper. Drizzle egg mixture over bread, tossing lightly to combine.  Fold in pecans.
Use to stuff turkey or you can bake uncovered at 375 for 20 minutes.

To make ahead: Prepare as directed and can be refrigerated for 1 day.  Let stand a room temperature then bake as directed.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sneak Peek at a simply elegant classic old Hollywood style Glamour Wedding!

A sneak peek at my blog about planning my daughter's wedding, a year and the half in the making.  So worth all the time, effort, and care to make Mandi and Dan's wedding just perfect.

The Bride:

The Groom:
The Ceremony:

The Bride and Groom:
The Wedding Party:
The Reception:

Happily Ever After:

More details to follow!