Aug 18, 2017

Unforgettable Apple Flavored Cocktail

My thanks to Dan whose blog ("fun food that's also crazy good") includes family dinner recipes, party food and cocktails - from a man's point of view, for sharing this easy apple flavored cocktail that is perfect for late summer or early fall. It's a cider based drink served cold, that will be more than welcome as these hot and humid days linger before and after the kids go back to school. His recipe is for one serving, so up the ingredients to suit your party needs. Smirnoff makes a Kissed Caramel vodka - visit their website for a collection of caramel vodka cocktail recipes. Dan's easy recipe calls for "apple liquor" but I think he means apple liqueur (a light fruit liqueur made with sun-ripened apples).

  • 1 1/2 oz. caramel vodka
  • 1/2 oz. apple liquor
  • 3 oz. cider
1. Put all three ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously.
2. Strain into a martini glass.
3. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and thinly sliced apple.

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Aug 16, 2017

Bride Wears Late Grandma's Beautiful Beaded Gown

Just when I needed a bit of good news. Like Madison Kantzer, I never had a chance to meet my mother's parents or my father's, for that matter. But she had in her mother's possession, an exquisite hand beaded and embroidered dress that once belonged to the grandmother she never knew. She looked like a vision when she wore it to a bar mitzvah over fifty years ago. Amazingly, the three-quarter-sleeve gown needed no alterations at all, just repair to replace a few missing beads. Even the length appears picture perfect - only a slip was added to the mostly sheer ensemble. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story Madison, everyone who reads this will be touched by your tender devotion.


Aug 8, 2017

Must See Metallic Mason Jars

I must have these metallic Mason jars - especially in rose gold. A friend of mine spray paints everything from furniture to picture frames, tables to trash cans. Things I didn't know wanted or needed to be painted at all. I wish I shared her joy. It turns out there are two brands of metallic spray paint that even I can use to upgrade these beautiful glass jars - especially since I was lucky enough to score ten of these for $1.00 at a local church rummage sale. Rust-Oleum carries a lovely pearl metallic spray paint in Champagne Pink Mist and Sea Green Mist for about $7.00 on Amazon. Krylon carries copper, silver, gold, rose gold and dusty pink. At Walmart, both brands are about two dollars less.

Gold Metallic Mason Jar Centerpiece
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Aug 6, 2017

Enchanting Bohemian Table Setting

I want to eat at this bohemian style table, rub my hands over the soft, weathered wood and breathe in the fragrance of these freshly cut garden roses. It matters not if I dine on Tenderloin of Beef with a Rich Bordelaise Sauce or two beef patties and Big Mac sauce sandwiched between a sesame seed bun. Sitting across and sharing a meal with my loved ones under these tall elegant tapers makes sitting on the sofa watching yet another rerun of Little Women LA seem like a sin. You or I might expect to see such a breathtaking table setting at a bohemian style wedding. Why not try something this enchanting tonight - in the comfort of your own home?

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Aug 5, 2017

Unbelieveable Bundt Cake Pans from Williams Sonoma

I was actually looking for healthly cranberry dessert ideas on Pinterest when I found this breathtakingly beautiful cranberry orange bundt cake from Tutti Dolci. As I was taking in this stunning glazed cake with sugar dusted cranberries, I found Laura's source for these unbelieveable bundt cake pans - Williams Sonoma. There's just no telling how little I paid for the yellow aluminum bundt cake pan that has served me so well for birthdays, birthday showers and afternoon tea. Today I found this vintage pan on eBay for $5.99.  (Williams Sonoma bundt cake pans sell for slightly less than thirty dollars each.) Bigger and better parties call for something more grandiose - a stunning cake pan with perfect sweeping curves that makes a bundt cake even more beautiful with a clear glaze or light dusting of sifted confectioners' sugar.

Williams Sonoma Bundt Cake Pans
Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt Pan 

Aug 3, 2017

DIY Kahlua Wedding Favors

Many thanks to Evermine Blog for instructions on making these Kahlua wedding favors with 4 oz. amber Boston round bottles purchased from Specialty Bottle. You may already have everything you need - white and brown sugar, pure vanilla extract, vodka and instant expresso powder. The instructions are simple - heat the water, sugar and expresso powder in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture has cooled, add the vodka and vanilla extract. Kahlua can also be used as a topping on ice cream, cupcakes and desserts. Here is their homemade Kahlua recipe - a coffee flavored liqueur originally from Mexico - that will be a warm and well-loved winter wedding gift.

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Aug 1, 2017

Exquisite Vintage Frame Centerpiece

This breathtaking gold vintage frame centerpiece with matching candle holder is deceptively expensive looking but is yours to recreate for less than you'd expect. Today at Wayfair I found a beautiful Baroque gold style metallic picture frame - that will easily hold a 4 x 6 photo or piece of white cardstock with a quote like this) for less than four dollars! A velvet easel backing makes it convenient to rest on a stack of books or stand alone. Search online for free fonts - is where I always go - and download a half a dozen of your favorite calligraphy styles. Find cheap wooden candle holders at your local thrift store and spray with gold metallic paint to match your frames.

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Jul 24, 2017

20 Unforgettable Mexican Wedding Ideas

These unforgettable Mexican wedding ideas reflect a refreshing and colorful culture that embraces freedom and taking chances. A deep love of God and devotion to family and well-loved friends. Feeling free to paint your house hot pink or purple - something you won't see here in the United States. One of the more beautiful Mexican wedding traditions involves the selection of padrinos (godfathers) and madrinas (godmothers) who sponsor and support different parts of the wedding including the cake, the rings, the flowers and even the bride's wedding dress. I love the idea that a whole community would get involved in a Mexican themed wedding, and in many towns across Mexico, that is exactly what they eagerly do.

A Mexican style dessert bar would always include polvorones
(a crumbly, shortbread cookie made of flour, sugar, milk and almonds)
and tres leches cupcakes, a sponge cake soaked in condensed milk,
 evaporated milk and heavy cream. 

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Jul 19, 2017

Polaroid Guest Book Photo Album

This Polaroid guest book photo album is fun and refreshing - a cherished keepsake. American scientist Edwin Land invented the instant camera in 1948 because his young daughter complained, "Why can't I see the picture now?" I honestly didn't know you could still purchase a Polaroid camera - like a Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera - a best seller on Amazon for $65 (available in smokey white, ice blue, flamingo pink and lime green). The reviews are really mixed on this camera and you'll need to decide if it's worth the cost to recreate this photo guest book idea (with 2 x 3 inch photos) for only one special event. The retro kraft photo corners shown below are also available on Amazon - 250 for just seven dollars and change.

Jul 12, 2017

Unforgettable Garden Wedding Table Settings

For me these garden wedding table settings are so stunning and something I won't soon forget. I want to dine on these gold-rimmed china plates near the beautiful pink and white azaleas we grow here in Virginia that were tricked into blooming early because of the heat. I want to drink Blackberry Merlot from golden vintage goblets under the shade of the flowering dogwood trees. An indoor reception makes you wonder - how long will this big party last? Do I need to order one more lemon drop martini ASAP before the bar shuts down and the band plays "So Long, It's Been Good To Know You"? An outdoor garden wedding reception suggests - stay and linger, breathe in the perfume of these red garden roses. This is the day of our dreams, so let's make these magic moments last.

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Jul 10, 2017

Fruit Pizza - Easy Summer Dessert!

I was looking for the perfect fruit pizza, one I could serve at a summer bridal shower, birthday party or afternoon tea. If I had to make the crust from scratch using butter and flour and sugar and all the rest, and then whip up a big batch of homemade icing using powdered sugar, vanilla, more butter and milk - I wouldn't have the energy to make the chicken salad sandwiches or greet my guests. That's why I love this easy fruit pizza by Sunshine Crawford that you can customize with your own favorite summer fruits like the blueberries, kiwi and freshly sliced strawberries shown below.

Fruit Pizza Recipe

  • 1 packaged sugar cookie mix (I like Betty Crocker)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese - softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Prepare sugar cookie mix as directed and spread evenly on a slightly greased pizza pan.
3.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until crust is slightly brown around the outside.
4.  Beat softened cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.
5.  Spread evenly on cooled cookie crust.
6.  Rinse fruit and let dry.
7.  Arrange fruit on top of cream cheese layer - starting on the outside in a circular pattern.

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Jul 8, 2017

Romantic Silhouette Wedding Cake Toppers

Etsy has a beautiful variety of romantic silhouette cake toppers made from 1/8 inch black acrylic that will sit nicely on a five to eight inch top tier wedding cake. These are the three silhouette toppers that I love best - without the links - because these shops, they come and they go. And I don't like sending you on a wild goose chase. If you were both burning with desire and laughed yourself silly at Wesley and his quirky companions trying to rescue Princess Buttercup from the mean and sneaky Prince Humperdinck in one of the funniest adventure movies of all time, you'll love the Princess Bride Topper. Today I found two nearly identical black silhouette toppers - one for $40 (shown below) and another for thirteen dollars, as well as a plain "As You Wish" for just $11.99.

Bride and Groom Silhouettes on Bike - $50 from Silhouetteweddings
Batman and Bride Silhouette Topper - $15 to $20 at AcrylicDesignForYou

Princess Bride Wedding Cake Topper - also at Silhouetteweddings for $40
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Jul 7, 2017

Rustic Best Day Ever Wedding Sign

I am obsessed with all things rustic, especially wedding welcome signs. It's a relatively new wedding trend and one I hope is here to stay. Usually you see a wood or chalkboard sign on Pinterest that reads "Best Day Ever" by itself or with the wedding date. These popular photos find their way onto Pinterest boards called chalkboard wedding signs, rustic wedding ideas, and country style weddings (surprisingly, this one not as much). One of those simple signs wasn't good enough for Julia and Brendan, whoever these two grateful lovers are. They wanted to make sure you felt their joy, their anticipation and their expectation that this day - September 25, 2015 - would not only be the best ever, even more so because you were there.

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Jul 6, 2017

Root Beer Float Bar

I love this root beer float bar - and not just because my husband and I have gotten addicted to these delicious creamy drinks since the heat has withered our squash and wrecked havoc on our morning glories. For us it doesn't have to be A&W root beer and Breyer's vanilla bean ice cream. Any store brand of vanilla ice cream and even diet root beer will do. What a great and inexpensive summer wedding idea - one that kids will love and grown ups will be grateful for. Make an adult root beer float by pouring one shot of Smirnoff whipped cream vodka over ice in a tall glass, fill with root beer almost to the top and add a splash of half and half.

Jul 4, 2017

Limoncello Cupcakes from Cake Mix

Limoncello cupcakes from cake mix - because I love the taste of Italian lemon liqueur and was looking for the perfect summer bridal shower dessert. I wanted something sweet I could put together quick since one of my other most requested dishes (broccoli salad with raisins, sweet onions, shredded cheese, bacon and a mayonnaise-sugar-vinegar dressing) require attention in the kitchen from nine to around noon. I found this easy limoncello cupcake recipe at Betty Crocker using a SuperMoist white cake mix and just four more ingredients, including water. Homemade limoncello frosting is made in minutes with a light a simple combination of butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese and lemon liqueur.

Easy Limoncello Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients
  • 1 box of Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
  • 1/4 cup Limoncello liqueur
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon Limoncello
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • Heat oven to 325 degrees for a dark or a non-stick pan.
  • Beat cupcake ingredients on medium speed for two minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.
  • Fill 24 cupcake liners about two-thirds full.
  • Bake 18 to 23 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Place cupcakes on cooling rack.
  • In a separate bowl beat the (softened) butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  • Slowly beat in powdered sugar and Limoncello.
  • Frost cupcakes and garnish with sliced lemons. 
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