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Archive for April, 2010

If you like Pina Coladas

and getting caught in the rain…
Friday is finally here and I can’t wait to kick off the weekend.  So let down your hair and slip on your favorite worn-out flip flops…let’s blend that frozen concoction that helps you hang on.
This was the first time that I’ve made a pina colada without the pre-made mix.  If you have never done this…you have to! It was absolutely delicious. Tons and tons better and, believe it or not, better for you. (No high fructose corn syrup). I started with one of Paula Dean’s recipes for homemade pina coladas and tweaked it a little. 
Ingredients:
Ice cubes
1/2 cup Mount Gay Rum (Barbados)
1 cup Coco Lopez Coconut Cream
1/2 cup Organic Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Pineapple Juice
Several chunks of fresh pineapple
Pineapple slices for garnish
Fill blender half way with ice and add rum, coconut cream, coconut milk, pineapple juice and pineapple chunks and puree.
Garnish with a slice of fresh pineapple and of course a fun little umbrella. Enjoy!
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If your better half is not in the mood for fruity goodness, an ice cold Hawaiian beer with always do the trick.
Photos By: KHJ
Now raise your glasses to a great weekend, this one’s on me!

Posted 4/30/10, Topic: Blog

Wedding bells a-ringin’: Emily + Jake

Last week I shared with you some of the gorgeous flowers used in the bridal bouquets for my niece’s wedding and, as promised, I have pulled together some photos to give you a brief snapshot of the many beautiful details of the day.
Emily wanted her wedding to have a stylish, modern vibe yet still be soft and romantic. With this in mind, I chose a palette of white with touches of natural elements such as stone, water and wood. To set the mood, soft lighting was key. Paper lanterns and a multitude of votive candles and luminaries keep the celebration going long after sunset.
Family celebrations are always fun, but this one was a hoot with my Dad and his three daughters working together to pull off the wedding.  I was busy pointing fingers and snipping and tucking away at the many floral arrangements, Katie was busy behind the lens snapping away, and Kim was busy being mother-of-the-bride. Do their duties ever end? Bless my Dad’s heart, he ran anywhere we told him to and put up with all the clouds of estrogen in that place! Two other precious helpers were Lamar, the father-of-the-bride, and of course, Mr. Blue Eyed Yonder. They worked endlessly stringing lights, setting up tables and helping keep the hen house cool, calm and hydrated. While there were no shortage of hectic moments, we still managed to have a great time and definitely no shortage of good laughs.
Here are the finished bouquets with an ivory, blush and soft green palette.
The bride and her sweet mother, my sister, Kim. Don’t they looks so much alike? I just can’t get over it.

White hydrangeas and bells of Ireland lined the aisle at the ceremony.

The boutonnieres consisted of one white orchid and ranunculus buds. The stems were wrapped with black satin ribbon.
I have to admit, one of my favorite parts of this wedding was the use of succulent plants. These adorable, spunky succulents brought raw, natural beauty to the decor. This photo of the ring within the succulent is one of my favorites from the day.
For centerpieces, I chose white, long-stem dendrobium orchids with the twisted, natural beauty of curly willow. To add a little romance to these dramatic pieces, I hung several hanging votives within the branches.

Continuing with the succulent theme, the place cards for the head table were placed in individually potted succulents.

As the sun set, the glow of the lanterns and the multitude of candles took center stage.
The sparkler exit lit up the night sky and sent the newly married couple off with glowing faces and happy hearts.





Photography: Katie Hollingsworth, assisted by Chris Janos
Event Planning and Directing: Blue Eyed Yonder
Floral Design: Blue Eyed Yonder
Catering: Everything and More Events, Terri Knowlton  
Music: A Sound Occassion
Bridal Gown: David’s Bridal
Venue: The Retreat at High Grove, Monroe, GA

Notes from behind the curtain…
As with any endeavor, I just wouldn’t feel true to myself to make you all think everything went perfectly.  I am a big believer that you learn most from the things that go wrong.  And just to prove that I am human, and no wonder woman, I wanted to share some of the behind the scenes lessons learned. This was one of the largest weddings that I have worked on and there were many fun times and also many hectic times.  Here are some of the takeaways from the day:

1. Shower first. This may sound odd, but as many times as you tell yourself you’ll have plenty of time, you just won’t. Everything was going smoothly, but as the wedding drew near there seemed to be a multitude of people all needing my advice, direction, etc. There was no way that I could have just left (I’m too much of a control freak, haha.) Sweet Mr. Blue Eyed Yonder ran home and brought my clothes to me. I had to have a quick ‘mentos moment’ in the clubhouse bathroom to ready myself for the wedding.  Lots of stress that could have been avoided if I had just showered first.

2. Keep your friends close, your lighters closer. In the the hustle and bustle of last minute details before the wedding lots of guest volunteers started cleaning up miscellaneous stuff. Part of that ‘stuff’ was my box full of long-handled lighters. Trust me, it is no easy task to light hundreds of candles with just one flame.

3. Love thy family. Because you love them, you will do almost anything for family…even attempt the impossible. I have to admit I probably took on a little too much for this wedding. While it all came together beautifully, sadly I didn’t even get to watch the wedding. So, a little silent promise to myself moving forward… if helping out during a family event I will be careful not to take on too much, I want to  be able to enjoy and share in their special day as well.

Posted 4/27/10, Topic: Blog

Goldi-lox and the Two Hungry Bears

It is so easy to run through the drive-through when hunger gets the best of you. But, in honor of Earth Day, I decided to buck the urge and think up a healthy, quick alternative for the hunger bug.

I love to brainstorm ideas for new dishes. I am guilty of falling into the rut of cooking the same old things over and over. Sometimes you forget the endless possibilities out there. Since starting this blog I have been inspired to create more new and exciting dishes in an attempt to bring the joy back to eating at home.

While driving to Harry’s Farmers Market I began my mental grocery list…it had to be quick, I wanted it to be healthy and of course it had to be yummy! I decided on Salmon lox served on toasted whole wheat english muffins with a garlic-dill cream cheese spread and capers.

Did I have a recipe? Of course not, I told you…I am a sniff and taste kind of cook. But I can share with you some of my delicious and fresh ingredients in case you get the urge to create a little goldi-lox for yourself.  I started with salmon lox, sustainably farm-raised with no antibiotics or hormones.

Mr. Blue Eyed Yonder helped out in making the cream cheese spread.  He began by softening the cream cheese and then added a sprinkling of dried dill and a dash of garlic salt.

For a fresh, simple side dish I picked up some bright red tomatoes ripened on the vine and grown with no pesticides and a couple of zucchini squash.

Sliced length-wise and brushed with olive oil, I placed the zucchini on the George Foreman for a quick grill.
While the zucchini is on the grill, I buttered the whole wheat english muffins and popped them in the oven for a quick broil. (Warning: taking foodie photos while cooking can result in burnt buns.)
Once the buns are out of the over, spread the cream cheese mixture on the bottom half of the buns and then gently place the salmon lox on top of the cream cheese and top with a couple of salty capers.
Arrange the sliced tomatoes and grilled zucchini and enjoy! This meal was done in a jiffy and a much better alternative to fast food. To top it off, we added a glass of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc and of course soaked up the nice spring weather by enjoying our meal on the patio.
Photos by: KHJ

Looks like this new dish was a hit!

Posted 4/24/10, Topic: Blog

Assembled With Love

As many of you know I have been busy lately working on the details for my niece’s wedding. I am happy to announce she’s tied the knot! Emily was married this past Sunday at a lovely little spot in Monroe, GA called The Retreat at High Grove Estates
In addition to planning, coordinating and directing the wedding, I was also responsible for all of floral designs. The wedding was on Sunday, so Saturday was set aside for bouquets. I purchased all of the flowers from Cut Flower Wholesale in Buckhead. I had such a positive experience working with them. I can take forever to make a decision, and they continued to show patience and helped with all of my questions. I look forward to working with them again.
I wanted to share with you some of the photos of these gorgeous flowers. My sister, Katie, was in town to photograph the wedding so she happily snapped some shots of the bouquets in progress. (Thanks Katie!)
Colony Ranunculus: Absolutely stunning. Twinges of blushing pink and soft green.
Polar Star Roses: Soft, creamy white. Smells heavenly.
Bridal Bouquet: 

Polar Star Roses
Van Dyke Tulips
White Ranunculus
Freesia
Magnolia Leaves

Star of Bethlehem: Beautiful, unique green texture.

While at my Dad’s I snagged a few vintage glasses to assemble the flowers. Love this old gem, even has the syrup fill line.

Bridesmaid Bouquets:

Polar Star Roses
Colony Ranunculus
Freesia
Two varieties of Star of Bethlehem

Stay tuned for more photos from the wedding featuring other {BlueEyed}Yonder wedding details. 

Posted 4/22/10, Topic: Blog

Today’s Menu: Fresh

“Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music.”
- Julia Child

One of my favorite parts of cooking is just making stuff up…a little bit of this, a dash of that.  In order to decide what ingredients I want to combine I just give them a nice whiff.  Then I add the ingredients in quantities based on how much of that ‘whiff’ I want to taste.  Sounds funny I am sure, but that is how it goes.
In the mood for some thing fresh, something to give my palette a wake-me-up, I picked up some fresh salmon from the farmer’s market. Grabbed a bundle of cilantro, a juicy lemon and was on my way.
I seasoned the fish with some lemon pepper seasoning and a squeeze of lemon, fresh…simple.
While the fish was baking, I threw together a mixed green salad with walnuts and dried raspberries.
Pull the fish out of the oven, sprinkle with some tasty capers and enjoy!
Photos by: KHJ

Posted 4/20/10, Topic: Blog

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