Monday, February 16, 2015

Winter Sangria Recipe from our Winter wedding

This was a HUGE hit! Even the bartender asked me for the recipe after the wedding.  I lightened it way up from the usual Sangria recipe since it was a Sunday afternoon and I didn't want our guests to get loaded.  I wanted something light and perfect for a Sunday Winter Wedding.

This recipe is to be made in a large Mason jar dispenser for a crowd (as pictured above) I'm sure you could halve the ingredients to make it for a smaller party:

3 bottles Red wine (Get the cheaper stuff since you are adding so much to it, no need to spend a fortune)
1 cup Brandy
1 59 oz bottle Simply Apple Pure Pressed Apple Juice
1 red apple, sliced
1 green apple, sliced
2 oranges, sliced
2 apricots, sliced (look for a juicy ripe one)
2 pears, sliced  (look for a juicy ripe one)
1 Pomegranate seeds only
4 cinnamon sticks broken in half (more for optional garnish)
1 bottle of Cava

Cut all your fruit in equal sizes slices and drop into the bottom of a pitcher or glass jug. Add cinnamon sticks. Pour the bottles of wine, Brandy and apple juice over the fruit and gently stir to combine. Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight and up to 2 days.

Right before serving add the bottle of Cava into the jug and give it a gentle stir.

This was a huge hit at our wedding.  When it ran out, we just kept adding Cava and it made a fruity sparkling wine cocktail which was also super yummy!

Our Perfect DIY Winter Wedding (on a budget) 01-04-2015

We met in the Winter and fell in love in December, so we really loved the idea of having a Winter wedding.  Since we had Sylvia for the majority of Christmas break, we decided that the weekend before she went back to school would be the perfect time.  The day was amazing.  Everything really fell into place.  The colors were neutral tones with bursts of red and green.  It was just post Christmas so the perfect time for this combo. 
 Cindy Apple provided these lovely photos. 
The venue for our wedding was Sodo Pop.  Perfect size for our event and totally budget friendly! 

 I had this very specific vision of a dessert table, I'd been seeing so many lovely ideas on Pinterest, so that was truly my baby.
The cake plates were mine and borrowed from a few of my friends. Having the variety, created a sweet shabby chic look for the table.
The photos of the kids and the suitcase were just things from my own house!

I baked a  variety of cupcakes, and a small carrot cake. (The cake was less for eating but to create a perfect centerpiece for the cake topper and the table.)  I also added baby photos of all three of our kids to the table.

I used a wood burner to burn words into little cut wood discs and used that to label both the dessert table and the buffet.

 All of the cakes turned out so yummy!

 The Cake topper was a statue I found the very first time Sean and I went thrifting together, on one of our very first dates.  It was meaningful to us, so I wanted to incorporate it into our wedding.

My son approved of the dessert buffet!

My Bridesmaids all wore black dressed that they already owned.  I purchased the Jr Bridesmaid dress and Alice's flower Girl dress on after Christmas sales for 70% off.  The ladies all wore red shoes and the guys all wore red ties, that is how we tied it all together.

I had always dreamed of getting married in a red dress, so I was super excited about mine.  I also have always been in love with this vintage style.  My perfect red dress I purchased at on clearance for $50! I didn't even need to get it altered.  It was perfect! So well made and such a lush fabric!  I got a million compliments and felt like a princess. (Sylvia even told me I looked like one too!)
My flower Girl Alice and Jr Bridesmaid Sylvia
 The Groomsmen ties were also all on after holiday clearance at Macy's.  They all wore their own suites.

For the decorations, we used a lot of things from nature.  The pine cones were all collected over the prior months by me, baked in my oven to kill anything living in them and then painted with glitter spray paint.  I used my wood burner to decorate the logs.

Perfect center pieces designed by Audrey

Sylvia made the "stained glass" jar for me as a Christmas gift, so I really wanted it to be incorporated into the wedding decor.
All of the greens were fresh and purchased the day before. They were meant for holiday centerpieces, so I lucked out and got them on post holiday sale!  Marked down from $5.99 to $.99 a bundle.


The table clothes were a mix of thrift store vintage and snowflake holiday tablecloths that I got after Christmas for 75% off.  We also re-purposed a lot of the burlap table runners, the white lights and small candles from the office holiday party.  We found that doing a Winter wedding right after New Years really did offer a lot of great prices on post Christmas clearance sales
The arch, the isle runner, the cupcake stars, the gold paper straws, all of the flatware and paper plates (All biodegradable and green) and some of the burlap banners I purchased on Amazon at very reasonable prices.

I made a beautiful Winter Sangria as the signature cocktail.  Since it was a Sunday afternoon, I made it much less potent than most Sangria recipes, but it was a hit.  The bartender said people were flying through it!  When the Sangria ran out, we just added bottles of Cava to the fruit in the container which made a fruity Cava cocktail.  People loved that too!

We also had a little photobooth by the door.  It was just a jar with some paper props and a backdrop.  It gave people the option of doing their own photos with their cell phones.  Our guests had a good time with it! 

Our friends all came up and sang a variety of meaningful songs for us and then we had a live band (CFO) finish the night.  It was a dreamy evening for sure!

I even got serenaded by my groom!

 We really did have an awesome stress free day and stayed on budget! It was dreamy!

Garbonzo Bean Yellow Cake recipe for preschool snack day. (dairy free and gluten free)

For Valentine's snack at preschool I decided to try to create a healthier cupcake.  This is what I came up with! It was a hit with the toddlers and the parents! We have a dairy allergy at preschool so this recipe is also Dairy free, but where it says vegan butter you can always use regular butter if that is not a concern)

1 can drained and rinsed Garbanzo beans (approx 2 cups)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 cup coconut oil melted and cooled
3/4 cup of Organic coconut sugar
2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup rice flour (or whole wheat flour if you don't worry about gluten free)

Blended all together in my Ninja mixer until lump free. Pour about 3/4 full in cupcake cups and cook at 350 for 15-17 mins. (Until passes toothpick test)
The variation I did for snack was I used 1/3 cup honey instead of coconut sugar, I used white beans, 5 eggs, and I used Wheat flour.  The re-work was yummy even for adults in the house. 

The frosting is just 3 TBLS of vegan butter and 3 TBLSP of coconut oil with about 1 cup powder sugar and 2 TBLSP of coco powder mixed until fluffy.  A few splashes of fruit juice to thin as needed.

Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes made with Garbanzo Beans and Avocado! (White sugar free and gluten free)

1 can of Garbanzo Beans (Drained and rinsed thoroughly) 
4 eggs
6 oz (1/2 can) of 100% apple juice concentrate (Melted) 
1/4 cup of honey (Increase to up to 1 cup if you prefer a sweeter cake, but I liked it fine like this) 
1/2 avocado
1/4 cup coconut oil melted and cooled
2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup rice flour
1/2 cup coco powder

Blended all together in my Ninja mixer until lump free. (I used a Ninja, you could use a vitamix or a food processor) 

Blended all of the wet ingredients first and then mixed all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and added to the blender.  
Blended until smooth.  
Pour about 3/4 full in cupcake cups and cook at 350 for 18-19 mins. (Bake until toothpick comes out clean)

The kids had no idea that I made these any different from a chocolate cake.  Sylvia and JR both ate one and asked for more right away! 

I frosted them with a simple frosting made with coconut oil, a couple TBLSPs of Butter, coco powder and a little powder sugar.  (So the frosting did technically have regular sugar in it, but the baby liked them just fine un-frosted.  I think the 8 year old expects to see frosting on a cupcake, but it was so little, I don't think it can hurt.)

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