Browsing all posts in August, 2010.
Some wedding traditions go way, way, way back others, like the lighting of the Unity Candle, is only 40 years old. The lighting of the Unity Candle is more of an American tradition and symbolizes the “union” of two families and/or two individuals. Some trace the popularity of the Unity Candle to a famous wedding that took place on the soap opera General Hospital in the early 80′s. When “Luke & Laura” finally tied the knot and had a Unity Candle at their fictional wedding, Unity Candle Ceremonies suddenly became popular in the U.S.
Here is a sample of Unity Candle Vows:
Unity Candle Ceremony
“___________________ and ________________ the two lighted candies symbolize your separate lives, your separate families and your separate sets of friends. I ask that you each take one candle and that together you light the center candle. The individual candies represent your individual lives before today. Lighting the center candle represents that your two lives are now joined to one light, and represents the joining together of your two families and sets of friends to one.”
If Children Are Involved
“The lighting of the center candle represents not only the union of ____________ and ___________ in marriage, but the unity formed in this new family in which your lives will now shine as one family.
Moments of Elegance has a nice selection of Unity Candles to choose from and they range in prices from as low as $20 to $84.99.
Queen Anne Red Swarovski Crystal Unity Candle and Taper Set($64) – This heirloom quality paraffin unity candles are hand made in an oval shape with red and Queen Anne flowers, Swarovski crystals and shimmering faux pearls. They add sophisticated beauty and sparkle to any wedding or event. Personalization is the two first names of the bride and groom, the first initial of the groom’s last name and the numerical wedding date. Comes wrapped in cello and tied with a red/burgundy ribbon. Pillar measures 3″x9″. Hand decorated tapers are 12″.
Single Unity Candle ($39.99) — Hand printed, hand polished, heirloom quality unity candle. Choose candle image, white or ivory candles, silver or gold band, and black, gold or silver ink. Includes one 3″ x 9″ unity candle.
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Here in the Midwest it has been one long, steamy, sticky summer. And because there has been so much rain, I feel like every time I turn around someone is handing me one monster-sized zucchini. Between you and me, I don’t love zucchini, I don’t dislike it, it’s just not one of my fav veggies. For me, I love roasting it in the oven tossed with some salt, pepper, olive oil and then a quick toss of parmesan cheese and serve. Since I have been forced to get creative with my over abundance of zucchini, I have found these tasty recipes to try out.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 1/4 cups white sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
- Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
- Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
- Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.
- 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
- 2 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini (about 2 small)
- Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 425°.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place milk in a shallow bowl. Dip zucchini slices in milk, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place coated slices on an ovenproof wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Serve immediately.
- 1 package(s) (16 ounces) ziti rigate or wagon-wheel pasta
- Salt, to taste
- 3/4 pound(s) sweet Italian-sausage links, casings removed
- 3 medium (about 8 ounces each ) zucchini, each cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 1/4 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 can(s) (28 ounces) whole plum tomatoes
- Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
- In large saucepot, prepare pasta in boiling salted water as label directs.
- Meanwhile, heat nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add sausage meat and cook until browned, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to break up sausage. With slotted spoon, transfer sausage to bowl.
- Discard all but 1 tablespoon sausage drippings from skillet. Add zucchini, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until zucchini is golden, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes with their juice; heat to boiling, breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon. Return sausage to skillet. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer about 5 minutes longer.
- Drain pasta; return to saucepot. Add sausage mixture; toss well. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese if you like.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, grated
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
- 1/4 cup dried plain bread crumbs
- 1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat
- 2 zucchini, ends removed, halved lengthwise and crosswise
- 1 short orange bell pepper, halved and seeded
- 1 short red bell pepper, halved and seeded
- 1 short yellow bell pepper, halved and seeded
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly drizzle the olive oil into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Whisk the onion, parsley, egg, ketchup, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese and bread crumbs. Mix in the turkey. Cover and refrigerate the turkey mixture.
Using a melon baller or spoon, carefully scrape out the seeds and inner flesh from the zucchini, leaving 1/8-inch-thick shells. Be careful not to pierce through the skin. Fill the zucchini and pepper halves with the turkey mixture, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Arrange the stuffed vegetables in the baking dish. Pour the marinara sauce over the stuffed vegetables.
Bake uncovered until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown and a thermometer inserted into the filling registers 165 degrees F, about 45 minutes. Transfer the stuffed vegetables to a platter and serve.
These recipes are slowly turning me into a zucchini lover! I hope you like ‘em too.
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What is the first piece of advice you hear regarding your wedding day? Savor every second of it! Right, easier said than done. For most brides and grooms the day flashes by in on big blur. Moments of Elegance has the perfect gift to capture the day and all the days leading up to the BIG DAY. It is the “For the Bride on Her Wedding Day” Memory Journal ($28.99).
This relationship journal is the ultimate in personal gifts. It is beautifully outlined with 23 suggested topics about your relationship and the bride’s upcoming wedding. You (with the help of the topics) simply fill out the journal, and give it to the bride. Guaranteed she will be absolutely moved by this gift!
This journal is suitable for a member of her wedding party to fill out for her- such as a BRIDESMAID, MAID/MATRON OF HONOR. Or can also be filled out by another CLOSE FRIEND. We have also designed the topics so the MOTHER OF THE BRIDE can fill it out for her daughter as well!
This journal is a unique and thoughtful gift that you can give at the rehearsal dinner, day of the wedding, or other perfect occasion.
Included, are such topics as:
- Things you’ve done that I’m proud of…
- Things What you’ve taught me- about things, life & myself…
- My hopes and dreams I’d like to share with you…
- What I gain most from our relationship…
- Special wishes for you on your wedding day…
- What If it were the last time we spoke, what I would say to you…
This will surely be one of the bride’s favorite & treasured wedding gifts because of the thought put into it. It is the perfect way to express your gratitude for your friendship & give your best wishes.
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Wine and cheese go together like, well, like wine and cheese. Yet, taking a trip to the local cheesemonger can be a bit tricky because there are just so many types of cheese. Cheese has been around for like 4,000 years and since people have been making cheese from cows, goats, sheep to buffalo and yaks. Here’s a crash course on CHEESE 101.
Most Popular Cheeses
Blue (Bleu): Noted for its white and blue-streaked markings, blue cheese has a soft and often crumbly texture.
Brick: A softer, yellow cheese available in slightly, soft-medium firm texture. Commonly available in sliced, and brick forms.
Brie: Has an outer edible white coating and a mild-strong creamy inside. Originally from France, brie is available in wedge and round shapes.
Camembert: Reputed to be the favorite cheese of Napoleon, Camembert cheese has a soft, yellow inside. Its outer coating is also edible and is usually a grayish-white color. This cheese takes from four to eight weeks to ripen.
Cheddar: Normal color is white to medium-yellow. Mild to very sharp taste. Firm smooth texture. Comes in numerous shapes and originated in England.
Cheshire: A semi-firm, mild creamy cheese, loosely textured and crumbly. The flavor of red and white are similar. The red is colored with natural vegetable dye from the seeds of the annatto tree and is the most expensive. They ripen within a few weeks.
Colby: A white to medium-yellow orange cheese. Has a mild to mellow flavor and has a soft texture similar to cheddar. It is available in cylindrical, pie-shaped wedges. Originated in the U.S.
Edam: Creamy yellow or medium yellow-orange cheese with a surface coating of red was. Has a mellow and nut-like flavor. Semi-soft to firm texture with small irregular shaped round holes. Milkfat content is lower than Gouda. Usually available in a cannonball shape. Originated in the Netherlands.
Feta: A curd cheese which is set in a very concentrated salt solution. Made from either goat’s or sheep’s milk. A sharp, salty cheese and usually found chemical-free.
Farmers Cheese: Similar to cottage cheese and pot cheese, but is pressed into a block form. Usually free of preservatives if bought in bulk from a Deli.
Gjetost: Golden brown colored cheese with sweet caramel flavor. Made from whey or goat’s milk. Has a firm buttery consistency. Available in cubes or rectangular pieces. Originated in Norway.
Gorgonzola: Has a creamy white inside, mottled or streaked with blue-green ribbons of mold and a clay-colored surface. Has a tangy, peppery flavor and a semi-soft crumbly texture. Similar to Blue cheese. If made from goat’s milk, it will be best.
Gouda: A creamy yellow or medium yellow-orange cheese that usually has a red wax coating and a nutlike flavor. Semi-soft to firm texture. Higher fat content than Edam cheese. Contains small irregular shaped or round holes. Comes in a bell shape with flat top and bottom.
Gruyere: A variation of Swiss cheese, but usually without the use of bleached milk making it higher in vitamin content. If mold inhibitors are added, the information will be on the label.
Limburger: Has a creamy white interior and a reddish yellow surface. It is a highly pungent cheese with a very strong flavor. Ripens in four to eight weeks and has a soft, smooth texture. Originated in Belgium, Germany.
Mozzarella: A creamy white cheese made from whole or partly skimmed milk with a firm texture. Available in small round, shredded or in slices. Originated in Italy.
Muenster: Has a creamy white inside and a yellow-tan surface. Mild to mellow flavor with a semi-soft texture. Contains more moisture than brick cheese. Available in wedges, blocks and circular cakes. Originated in Germany.
Mysost: A light brown cheese with a sweet caramel flavor with a buttery consistency. Available in cubical, cylindrical and pie shaped wedges. Originated in Norway.
Neufchatel: A white cheese with a mild acidic flavor. Has a smooth texture similar to cream cheese but lower in milkfat. Originated in France.
Parmesan: Creamy white cheese with a hard granular texture and sharp piquant taste. It has less of a moisture content and a lower milkfat level than Romano. Originated in Italy.
Port du Salut: A creamy yellow cheese with a mellow to robust flavor. Has a buttery texture with small holes. Comes in wedges or wheels. Originated in France.
Provolone: Has a light creamy interior with a light brown or golden yellow surface. The flavor is mellow and has a smooth texture. May have coloring added and is usually salted or smoked. Originated in Italy.
Ricotta: A normally white cheese with a somewhat sweet, nutlike flavor. Usually made from cow’s milk, whole or partially skimmed with or without whey and resembles cottage cheese.
Romano: A yellow-white cheese with a greenish-black surface and a sharp flavor. It has a hard granular texture and is available in wedges or grated. Similar to Parmesan but made with whole milk giving it a higher fat content. May contain a number of preservatives. The best is made from sheep’s milk. Originated in Italy.
Roquefort: Has a white creamy interior and may be marbled or streaked with bluish veins of mold. Usually made of sheep’s milk and has a peppery flavor with a semi-soft crumbly texture. Originated in France.
Stilton: Has a creamy white inside with streaks of blue-green mold. Made with cow’s milk and milder than Gorgonzolaor Roquefort. The texture is semi-soft and is more crumbly than Blue cheese. Originated in England.
Swiss: A light yellow cheese that has a sweet nut-like flavor and a smooth texture with a variety of different size holes. It has a good firm texture and is available in rectangular forms and slices. Originated in Switzerland. May use bleached milk to give it the yellow color. This will reduce the vitamin content. One ounce equals 105 calories.
Tilsit: Has ivory to yellow semi-soft interior. Made from raw milk and ripened for about five months. Originated in Germany.
How To Buy Cheese:
- Be Bold, Be Brave – ask questions, ask to try a slice, ask what is in season, yep, cheese has seasons!
- The Nose, Knows — smell your cheese. If it smells sour or like a barnyard it is past its prime.
- Crack is Wack — if the cheese is cracked or starting to dry up around the edges, just say no.
- Taste Test — ask for a slice and also ask for wine pairings too.
- Treat Your Cheese Well– Your cheese was made by hand with love, so when you take it home be sure to wrap it in wax paper, plastic wrap or foil and store in a humidity controled door. Never FREEZE your CHEESE.
How To Build the Perfect Cheese Plate:
There are five cheese types and you will want to draw from each to build the perfect cheese plate. The five styles of cheese are: fresh, washed-rind, bloomy, pressed, and blue. Then add some palate-cleansers (olives, nuts, bread) and flavor-enhancers (honey, quince paste, fruit preserves, or aged balsamic).
Fresh cheeses are soft, mild-tasting and creamy: Anything without a distinct rind is considered a fresh cheese. They range in flavor and texture from fresh mozzarella, ricotta, or goat cheese to salty brined feta.
Washed-rind cheeses are bathed in liquid, whether beer, wine, or water to encourage the development of helpful bacteria that add tons of complex flavor. Meunster’s the most common washed-rind cheese available here; you might also see Taleggio or Raclette in your store.
Bloomy cheeses are rich and intense, with creamy insides and a semi-firm, edible white rind. Brie, traditionally made with raw milk. Other favorites are Brillat-Savarin, Pierre Robert, or the super-runny St. Marcellin.
Pressed cheeses are firmer, with harder rinds. Most hard and semi-hard cheeses fall into this category, from Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romano, and Asiago, to Cheddar, Gouda, and Gruyere. Their flavors are all over the map — Parmigiano-Reggiano is deep and nutty; aged Gouda is butterscotchy and young is creamy; and Cheddar can taste like anything, depending on its age.
Blue cheeses are shot through with veins of penicillin. They’re usually creamy, sometimes with a salty crunch in spots. Stilton and Maytag Blue are classics, as is Roquefort, but check out Cabrales for truly complex flavor or mellow, nutty Fourme d’Ambert.
We hope that this post will help you “cut” the cheese. Get it. “Cut” the cheese. Sorry, had to insert at least one bad joke!
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Tequila, ever wonder why it can cost $13 a bottle or $139 a bottle? And what is it anyway? Tequila is made from the Blue Agave or tequila agave plant that starts out as a large succulent, with spiky, fleshly leaves. Tequila is produced by removing the heart of the plant when the plant reaches its twelfth year. A twelve year old Agave plant can weigh anywhere from 75 to 200 pounds. The leaves are removed and heated to remove the sap, which is then fermented and distilled.
So,why is some tequila more expensive than others? If it is 100% Blue Agave it is more expensive, than say others made from 51% that is made with sugar water, corn liquor or other additives.
“Types” of Tequilas:
- Blanco (“white”) or plata (“silver”):white spirit, un-aged and bottled or stored immediately after distillation, or aged less than two months in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels.
- Joven (“young”) or oro (“gold”):is silver tequila with caramel or food coloring added. Examples are Jose Cuervo Gold or Sauza Gold.
- Reposado (“rested”): aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels.
- Añejo (“aged” or “vintage”): aged a minimum of one year, but less than three years in oak barrels.
- Extra Añejo (“extra aged” or “ultra aged”): aged a minimum of three years in oak barrels. This category was established in March 2006.
Here are a few top rated Tequilas :
Milagro Silver ($30) – This entry-level tequila is made from hand-selected estate-grown 100 percent agave.
Don Juilo Resposado($38) – The agave that goes into this bottle is grown as long as 10 years before it’s cooked, fermented, and distilled. Unlike some resposados, which are aged a mere two months, Don Julio gives this bottling eight months of beauty sleep in American white-oak bourbon barrels, which can’t be reused stateside.
How to make a Perfect Margarita in 4 Steps:
Step 1: Chill your margarita glass, then dip the rim of the glass into a plate of coarse salt.
Step 2: Put 2 oz. tequila, 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice and 1 oz. Triple Sec or Cointreau in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice.
Step 3: Shake three times and strain into your glass.
Step 4: Garnish with lime wedge.