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Weddings + Winners

Posted Jan 09 2010 3:01pm 2 Comments

Hi everyone!

How has the first full week of January been treating you? There’s a fever going around here — not an actual illness (thankfully!), but rather a drive to get things moving and work quickly and productively in the new year. It’s inspiring me to be on my A game :mrgreen: That’s always a good thing!

I’m very excited about this post because there is a lot to share!

So let’s chat already!



One of the exciting things I did while I was home the last week of December was attend a complimentary wedding tasting with my parents! I wish Bobby could have been there, but since it is technically a “destination” for us, it worked out that the reception venue could do it while I was down there and we took advantage of it. I told him I’d keep his best interest and taste buds in mind ;)

When we got there, we were greeted by a gorgeous centerpiece from our florist.

See P. Bender lurking in the background? ;)

What do you think of the arrangement? We were super impressed because we are getting a pretty good deal with the florist and weren’t expecting something quite so grandiose as a result. Definitely a keeper — the vases are really tall so they won’t block anyone who sits across the table. We may remove the stand at the bottom but other than that, it was perfect.

The first part of the tasting was dedicated to cold and hot hors d’oeuvres, which we will serve during the down time between the ceremony and the reception, while we’re taking pictures.

The choices for the cold hors d’oeuvres:

  • Left: Asian chicken salad on top of a shrimp cracker
  • Right: Bruschetta with fresh tomato, parmesan and olive oil

The choices for the hot hors d’oeuvres:

  • Front: Fresh crab cake
  • Back: Chicken satay dipped in peanut sauce

All four options were delicious and full of unique flavor. In the end, we narrowed down our top three picks: bruschetta, crab cake and chicken satays. We figured these were the most widely appealing options for people, particularly since some family members have special diets, etc.

Next up: the salad course! There were two to choose from here. The one pictured on the left below was made up of butter lettuce topped with a balsamic vinaigrette and surrounded by candied pecans, fresh feta cheese and strawberries. The one of the right was a mixed green salad topped with a maple vinaigrette and surrounded by walnuts, gorgonzola and candied pears.

Both options were the perfect balance of savory-sweet. In the end, I decided to go with the butter lettuce and strawberries. Although the pears were good, they were a little too sweet with the maple dressing and I thought the balsamic was the option that would appeal to most people.

While we waited for the grand finale, we sampled white and red wines with a whole wheat roll.

Then…it arrived.

I am not exaggerating — this was definitely in the top three “best restaurant dishes” I’ve ever had in my life. The picture doesn’t do it justice (although the halo effect from the sun is a nice touch, don’t ya think?). On the left we have a perfectly tender and portioned out piece of filet, marinated with a rich and flavorful dark sauce and served over a bed of white chocolate risotto.

Yes, white chocolate.

It actually didn’t taste like chocolate at all, but it was super rich and creamy. I had a hard time sharing with my mom and dad ;) It was topped with a marinated onion.

On the right was a small piece of chicken — both meats were served in smaller portions so that we could try a bit of each — stuffed with a roulade of spinach and cheeses.

This dish made choosing all too easy. When we left the tasting, our wedding coordinator at the reception venue said we had to be one of the easiest groups she has ever worked with. When you know, you know: this entree was just what we were looking for! It appealed to the foodie in me while still being “edible” enough for the guests who do not get as pumped up about fancy-sounding food and taking pictures of it :) Plus, I knew right away that Bobby will absolutely love it. I can already hear the “Mmm…”



My sincerest apologies to Chandra for being so late on my thank you! I received my Bloggie Secret Santa gift just before Christmas but with traveling to Arizona, was not able to take the proper photos and write the proper post about it until now.

Chandra of p r e t t y t i m e p i e c e — love her blog name! — sent me a few wonderful gifts from her local store: lollipops and Buckyballs!

The lollipops came in all sorts of great flavors such as butterscotch and root beer float. She must have known my weakness for candy ;) The Buckyballs are known as “the amazing magnetic toy you can’t put down” and can be twisted into many different shapes and patterns. Too cool! Check out their website for a video — you’ll be mesmerized.

Thank you so much, Chandra! You made my spirits bright :)



Another reason to smile? Chandra gave me the Happy 101 Award!

That is one of the cutest I’ve seen yet! I am so honored — thank you!

rules of the award:
1. list 10 things that make you happy.
2. try to do at least one of them each day.
3. tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.

10 things that make me happy…

  1. My love :)
  2. My “Bender” family
  3. My best friends
  4. My fellow bloggers
  5. Reading and writing
  6. Coffee Cocoa
  7. Sleeping in on Saturdays
  8. Exercising
  9. Traveling to new places
  10. Sunsets (I’m watching one right now!)

You know me and tagging my fellow bloggers — I always feel as though there are just too many of you to choose from! Plus, you all brighten my day :) I encourage you to create your own lists of things that make you happy. It’s guaranteed to brighten your mood right then and there!



Melissa has notified me that she ended up receiving a Plan-a-Meal Bundle for Christmas. She graciously offered to let someone else win for this giveaway! Drumroll please…

#39 is…


Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce

Hey, found your blog through Jenny’s! You are an awesome gift-giver and it looks like your friends fall in that category too…check out all that loot! My tip for planning a meal is: grab a friend, go to the farmer’s market and pick out a new veggie to try out, go back to the kitchen and get creative!

Congrats, Stef! Please send an email with your address information to so that I can get the Plan-A-Meal-Bundle out to you!


Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend so far! I’m spending my Saturday night making homemade pizza, drinking wine and catching up on your blogs while watching T.V. with Bobby. I wouldn’t have it any other way ;) What are your weekend plans?


Comments (2)
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This would be great food, expecially for a <a href=>garden wedding</a>.  It would be perfect.
I love the purple flower arrangement at the top of the page.  What a beautiful wedding it must have been.  If you are trying to put on a winter wedding, I think <a href="">ice sculptures</a> are a great idea to dress up the occasion.  Ice sculptures and flowers are the way to go.
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