Saturday, March 27, 2010

votive candles, i shake my fist at you!

why, oh why are you doing THIS?!?! is it because you are standing alone instead of in a holder? or is it because you are being burned on unlevel ground? or perhaps you're just trying to make me LOSE MY FREAKING MIND!!!

i will figure this out... even if it kills me!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


somewhere in my wedding research i ran across this article and while i'm not getting married in anyone's backyard (though i totally would if i had the chance) i did fall in love with one idea in the article: the cookie buffet. (picture left from article linked)
as indicated in the article, this means TONS of work. basically, you spend a month making all the cookie dough... wrapping it, freezing it, etc. and then days before the wedding, the baking begins. since i'm not much of a baker, i've decided to take the next 9-12 months to test cookies. basically, i find a recipe in a book, magazine, online, from a friend, whatever and mix up the dough. half of the dough goes in the freezer, half gets baked and eaten. I have one cookie recipe that i have perfected that i know freezes well. it's a basic chocolate chip cookie, and i'm thinking i can get a few different types of cookies out of it, just by changing the "chips" that go in it. butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, toffee chips, are just a few options.
this weekend i tested two recipes, chocolate cookie w/ m&ms (from dec 2009 food network  magazines 50 holiday cookies classic chocolate cookie- i just added the m&ms) and toasted coconut dark chocolate chunk cookies (from april 2010 cooking light magazine). If you want either of these recipes, let me know.
the chocolate cookies with m&ms are pretty good. i'm not huge on chocolate, so i'm probably not the best judge. the man said they were good, and gobbled down the cookies i gave him. now the toasted coconut dark chocolate chunk cookies... i'm pretty sure they were sent from heaven above and kissed by an angel. these things are DELISH! i love coconut and dark chocolate, so they are already winners for me. after mixing up the dough, it was a struggle to get these cookies in the oven because i was ready to risk salmonella and shovel the raw dough straight into my mouth. with a little willpower, i baked the cookies and the results were YUMMTASTIC! i'm already excited that i have a half batch in the freezer, and really crossing my fingers that they bake well from frozen dough. 
Publish Post

also, i'm still on the lookout for more cookie recipes. if you have a favorite you'd like to throw my way, shoot me an email!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The great candle adventure...

i'll admit it, we're sort of candle junkies. and if i'm being honest... the man, more so than me. we have container candles and votives and are never without a package of 100 ct. tealights from Ikea. so when it came down to wedding planning time, it wasn't hard to figure out that we wanted candles. originally, it was floating candles in a shallow "bowl" that was about a foot in diameter. but with our dinner being served "family style" (YAY!) we're limited in space on the table. so... i put my thinking cap on and came up with having pillar candles instead.
i started scouring the internet looking for lovely purple unscented pillar candles. during my search, i realized something. candles are NOT cheap. well, if you're just buying a few, they're relatively inexpensive... when you're buying 75... not so much.  i turn on my creative juices and wonder, exactly how hard is it to make your own candles??? i did a little digging and found this site that sales wholesale supplies to make candles and even offers a "candle making university". SCORE! after a bit more research and running the idea by the man, i ordered a batch of supplies with which to practice to see if i could actually do this. somewhere between coming up with the idea and ordering the supplies i got really excited. i imagined all the lovely smelly candles i could make for us. i began thinking about how much of a personal touch this would put on the tables at our wedding. somewhere it went from a money saving strategy to an exciting project! i even politely declined the offer from the man's mom when she, thinking i was a bit crazy for taking on a huge project, offered to buy all the candles i wanted so i didn't have to make them.
last weekend i had my first candle making session. i used my awesome blossom square candle mold (way cooler than rounded candles) and made my first candle. with my first candle i've discovered that candles are temperamental. apparently, too much dye (read: 13 drops when the max color potential is reached in 7- what?!?! i was going for that "so purple it's almost black" look) makes the wick burn at the speed of light. basically i ended up with a block of wax that can now be cut up and used for dye. oh well.
test 2 goes much better. however, i didn't have the proper means to clean the mold, so there was some sticking issues, and i didn't plug the wick hole that well, so it leaked... a LOT. despite those issues, i did a test burn and it burned well for over 4 hours! 
somewhere in the process i started doing math (which i HATE) and figured out that my original idea of 3 pillar candles (2-9 inch candles and 1-4.5 inch candle) on each table would require an amount of wax weighing more than my 7 year old niece. while it wouldn't actually be THAT expensive, that is a LOT of wax to carry up to our 3rd floor apartment. i hit the drawing board again and came up with an idea that i like even better! additional supplies have been ordered and delivered and armed with a bridesmaid, a bottle of wine and hopefully some yummy cheese, testing will commence tomorrow night!

Monday, March 8, 2010

wait, it costs what?!?!?!

The day after getting engaged to my lovely fiance, I headed right to borders to purchase a wedding planning book in hopes of getting some direction. Honestly, just standing in front of the shelves of books, I felt so overwhelmed that I asked the man if we could just elope. A guy nearby advised him to take me up on my offer while I had it on the table. Frustrated and confused, we left borders three books (that's $60 I'll never get back). Basically what I've learned from these books is this: When planning a wedding, anyone and everyone will try their best to milk you for every penny they can.
The average wedding in the US costs $20,000. TWENTY-THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!
20G could pay for a ford focus and 15 wii game systems
or 700 pedicures
or a cupcake a day for the next 21 years
or half a TON of manchego cheese!!!
Knowing that there's no way in the world I could ever justify dropping 20K on one day of my life, I set out on a mission to not only plan a wedding and keep my sanity but also to figure out every way we could cut costs without sacrificing class and quality.