Monthly Archives: November 2012
From Ashley’s Kitchen, of McDonuts
I am a big fan of simple recipes for easy entertaining. Here is one of my all-time favorite recipes that is as easy as can be:
Roasted Grapes, Thyme and Fresh Ricotta on Grilled Bread
This recipe is so simple but looks so beautiful in its presentation. Your holiday guests will think you are a gourmet chef after tasting this simple (but very delicious) recipe!
fresh thyme sprigs
good rustic/french bread, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
fresh ricotta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Spread the grapes onto a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the kosher salt. Lay thyme leaves over top of the grapes. Mix and toss gently with your hands or a spoon. Place cookie sheet in the oven for 6 to 10 minutes (depending on your oven, times will vary) or until grapes just begin to burst — they will smell and look beautiful!
2. In the meantime, heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. I typically use our George Foreman Grill for this and it is so easy! Brush the bread with olive oil and grill until toasted.
3. Assemble the ingredients: spread fresh ricotta over each slice of grilled bread. Top with the roasted grapes but be very sure to discard the thyme sprigs. The sprigs are overpowering in taste if you serve them with the grapes on the bread. The thyme is just meant to season the grapes, not to serve with them. And voila – an easy recipe for entertaining during the holidays!
Recipe adapted from: Real Simple Magazine and http://www.wellsphere.com/healthy-eating-article/lunch-roasted-grapes-with-thyme-fresh-ricotta-grilled-bread/1501505
We will be featuring the winner of each month’s Team Treasury Challenge…here is our first interview, held with Amanda from ArtisanMaskers!
Working together as a group of cousins, sisters, and friends, they create simply fabulous masks!
How did you start your shop?
The Artisan Maskers started making masks because we wanted to throw a masquerade ball and couldn’t find any masks ANYWHERE that didn’t cost a fortune! (This was almost ten years ago–there are LOTS more options now, thank heavens!) We didn’t really think of selling them until a few years had passed and we made some to auction for a charity event. They went like wild-fire and we thought, “Hey. Maybe people would actually buy these!” It wasn’t until 2008 that we opened a shop on Etsy and really started creating and selling masks as a business.
Tell us about some of your favourite items in the shop.
Our favorite items tend to be the ones that were long in the execution and quick to sell, because they weren’t sitting around long enough for us to get tired of them! Any that are totally unique are also favorites because they took more creativity and artistry. Here are links to some favorites that have come and gone…
Who or what would you say has had the most influence over your craft?
I don’t know that you could say it’s had the “most” influence over my craft, but one thing that has definitely inspired me to branch out is the “green” movement. I hate being wasteful, so when even tiny scraps were being trimmed off of other masks, I would hoard them until I found something to use them on. Which led me to the unique “scrap masks.” (i.e. OOAK_Mask and OOAK Fox Mask) As far as I know, they aren’t like anything else being done on masks right now. (After all, who else would bother saving all those broken, tiny things!?) Another HUGE influence on our craft is simply the fact that we set out to create something beautiful and unique for LESS. We don’t use traditional clay molds to create our mask bases, which saves us time and money in the mask-creating process. That makes it possible for us to create something that is unique without charging a fortune for it!
What inspires you?
Each of the Maskers is inspired by something different, but I (Amanda) am personally very inspired by literature. You can often see what book I’ve been reading by the names of my masks… We are also all inspired by music (another one you can see reflected in the masks’ names at times) and by the many and varied materials we use. Sometimes a mask comes about because we just found the perfect combination of things to put on it!
What is your favorite wedding trend (now or past)?
I have to say that I think the best trend in weddings is that just about “anything goes”. I’m pretty conservative and traditional, BUT also a very casual person! And it was nice that our low-key reception wasn’t frowned upon by those attending because wedding receptions have become anything and everything the bridal party want them to be. If something doesn’t reflect the people who are getting married, then it shouldn’t play into the day celebrating their union.
What is your unicorn – that is, what is an object or skill that has eluded you so far?
“Appendages” are always difficult (think: horns, long/crazy noses, antlers, animal ears, etc.). We have yet to find one perfect way of doing them all…
Since most of the Maskers are busy with other aspects of their lives (kids, jobs, school, etc.) and mostly design masks as a creative outlet and expression, I actually don’t see our business growing much more than it already has. We like to keep things small and personal! It is wonderful to be able to run the shop at my own pace and not get sucked into over-commercialization. We LOVE getting to know individual clients and creating something unique for them! That is, after all, what got us going in the first place–the desire to do something unique and individual. So, luckily, I don’t see that changing anytime soon!
From Jennifer’s Kitchen, from Clay Bouquet Shop
There are a lot of articles out there about how to budget for your wedding. There are many approaches you can take but I’ve outlined a few general rules to keep in mind in order to not only plan the wedding of your dreams, but to also save a little money for your life as a married couple!
One of the most important things to keep in mind when planning a wedding within a budget is to consider the things that are most important to you and which you do not want to compromise on. For my me and my husband the catering was very important. We wanted our guests to enjoy a variety of excellent food and drinks with us on our special day. Many of our guests had traveled across the country to celebrate with us and we wanted to show them a good time. But having a full dinner catered -as well as an open bar – does not come cheap my friends! Since this was very important to us though, we knew we would have to find a way to make it happen within our budget. The way we did this was to specifically look for reception venues in which we could bring in the caterer of our choice and purchase our own alcohol and bar supplies. We cut our catering and alcohol bill nearly in half when compared to our other options.
Photo courtesy of The McDonut’s
Another great budgeting tip is to use items you may already have at home to accent your decor for the ceremony and reception. Chances are you have a style that you infuse into your everyday life that you can also incorporate into your wedding decor. For example, maybe you have a few great picture frames and candles that could easily be used to decorate your guest book and gift tables. Now that we are coming up on holiday sale season, this is also a great time of year to think about those little details ahead of time and shop sales to purchase items (like candles, paper supplies, etc) that are on sale for the holidays and that you can use for your wedding decor.
If you have always dreamed of having fresh flowers for your wedding, but dread the thought of spending large sums of money on fresh flowers for your special day, shopping seasonal flowers is a great way to save money. If you aren’t sold on the idea of having fresh flowers on your big day, there are a lot of great bouquet and flower options out there that offer a beautiful, unique alternative to fresh flowers and that you can have as a keepsake for many years to come:
Picture courtesy of ClayBouquetShop:
Picture courtesy of kristindangerdesigns
A wedding created on a budget does not have to LOOK like a budget wedding and as long as you keep that in mind, work creatively with what you have, and never settle on the things that mean the most to you on your big day – you will most certainly have the wedding of your dreams!
Visit our etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/mcdonuts
Check us out on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-McDonuts-Event-Decor-and-Fine-Jewelry/205464769484701?fref=ts
Our Monday feature is back after Storm Sandy…we will be asking the WedEclectic team a question, and posting their answers…providing some advice, inspiration and insight into the person behind our shops. We hope you enjoy them!
Please reply with your own answer! : )
How did you choose a dress? What motivated your choice the most (price, style, etc.)?
My perfect choice was SUPER-simple (just a plain white sheath dress in satin, with an embroidered organza over-dress). It’s exactly what I pictured; something that I could move around in, not feel weighed down in, but also pretty in a unique way. Price wasn’t really a huge factor, but it was very, very inexpensive, anyway.
I wanted lots and lots of lace…and didn’t have alot of money to pay for the wedding gown of my dreams. I was lucky enough to find a casablanca design I liked in a bridal shop, but too close to the wedding to order it (for $1100). So I found a used one (same design…1900) being sold online, and had it altered to fit, 6 weeks before the wedding. Little did I know that the alterations would increase the $500 price to $900. Oh, well. : )
So…how did your search for the perfect gown go? : )
Thanks to Adaleta of Polkadile for this lovely calendar!
(Sorry for the late entry…Hurricane Sandy completely distracted me from this…)
The Wed Eclectic team held it’s first treasury challenge in October, and it’s time to vote for a winner. The theme was Goosebumps and Curdled Blood.
Please vote for your favorite collection here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XB9JNQ6.
The winner will be posted on 11-11-2012.
Previews of the treasuries, in the order of entry: (Click on the photo to open the treasury in full page view.)
I happened across this recipe in an old library book (which I can’t remember the name of now–dang it!). And, I know what you’re thinking: APPLE salsa!?!? But, trust me, it is delicious! The tart apples and lime juice are perfectly balanced by the creamy avocado and zippy cilantro. I get compliments on this stuff whenever I take it to a potluck of any kind; it’s also especially great when served with fajitas. Plus, it looks gorgeously festive for the upcoming Holiday season! Enjoy!
1 Cup Granny Smith (or other tart) apple, diced
1/2 Cup ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1/4 Cup sweet red pepper, diced (as you can see from the picture, I also used some yellow peppers)
1/4 Cup purple onion, diced
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons jalapeño, seeded and minced (I never actually use this, because we like it a little less spicy!)
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and toss well. Make an hour or two ahead for best flavor results. Yield: 2 Cups.