Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Recipes from the Rehearsal Dinner

Per the request of many, here are the recipes from the rehearsal dinner last Friday:

Clean Eating Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

The hard thing is that I don't measure spices anymore so these are an estimate:

1 lb of ground 93/7 turkey

1 cup of whole wheat breadcrumbs

1 whole egg

2 heaping tbsp of finely chopped fresh parsley

2 heaping tbsp of finely chopped fresh oregano

2 heaping tbsp of finely chopped fresh basil

3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 tbsp of dried minced onions

fresh ground pepper and sea salt (I like mine a little heavy on the pepper)

for those that like a little spice, add a heavy dash of dried red pepper flakes

spaghetti sauce of your choice

grated parmesan finely chopped- this is up to you, I like about 1/4 cu. in my mix (plus you can use less salt with more cheese

Whole wheat pasta of your choice

Optional- sliced mushrooms

marinated artichoke hearts

Preheat the oven to 400F. Combine all the ingredients until completely mixed. Roll into roughly 1" balls. Bake for 10-12 minutes (until they are brown). Its okay if they are not completely cooked through, they cook the rest of the way when you simmer them with the sauce. I like mushrooms and marinated artichoke hearts in my sauce. If you do as well, slice white mushrooms and cut up the artichoke hearts and cook a bit in a big pot with a little olive oil. Add the spaghetti sauce to the shrooms and hearts and add the meatballs. Cover with a lid and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Boil a big pot of water and cook the pasta. Spoon meatballs and sauce over noodles and enjoy!

Caprese Salad

1 ball of fresh mozzarella

1 bunch of really good (farmers market if available) tomatoes

1 bunch of basil

1 cup of balsamic vinegar

fresh ground black pepper

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella. Layer on individual plates or on a platter with the basil. You can arrange them however you like but here is an idea:

Boil the cup of balsamic down until its about 1/2 cu and drizzle over the salad. Top with fresh ground pepper and there you have it. Pretty easy!

Registry Must Haves

So far, there are three things that have really wowed me as far as performance goes in regards to wedding gifts. If you don't personally know me, I am an OCD clean freak. I love the smell of Pinesol and stock up on cleaning products with every trip to Costco. So, as far as cleaning, here are my top picks:

1. The Shark Navigator vacuum- I have no words. Actually, I do, that's why I blog. This thing is amazing. Its lightweight and like the Dyson, doesn't lose suction. I just thought my carpets were clean, but with two small black haired dogs...its a constant battle. The worst is our microfiber sofa. Microfiber is great when it comes to getting stains out, but horrible with dog hair. It holds it in for dear life. The only way I've been able to get hair off so far is with roll upon roll of lint roller sheets. This vacuum has a pet attachment. Its a smaller little vacuum head that has a lint brush on it and the bristles that go about a hundred miles a minute. It got all the hair off my couch with little effort! I was amazed. The only downside is that the size of the actual vacuum head is smaller than normal, so you don't cover as much area with each pass of the vacuum and the dirt canister is rather small as well, but I still think its awesome. Since its only 15 lbs, it makes it really easy to maneuver too.

2. The Shark Pocket Steam mop. I have lots of tile in the house and I only thought it was clean until I swiped it over with this baby. The steam really gets in there and cleans deep down. You can actually feel the difference when you walk on the floors in bare feet. The extra long cord makes it easy to cover large areas without having to unplug it and re-plug somewhere else. Love it!

3. This one is actually just a side note for all you coffee drinkers. Clay and I went this week to get the cappucino machine that was on our registry. He is a coffee fanatic. I like the occassional latte, but not like he does. One, I think its stupid for him to go buy his cafe mochas and spend tons of money on it each week and two, there is a side useage for us new brides with sparkly rings we'd like to keep that way. When we were ring shopping a couple of months ago, the jeweler had cleaned my engagement ring and it looked so much better. At the jewelers, they use steam to get in all the cracks and crevices. You can do the same thing at home with the steamer on a cappucino machine. Just hold your ring under the steam with some tongs and blast away. My ring looked so much better after I tried it yesterday!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Introducing Mrs. Clay Ellis

So we did it! Finally, after 14 months of planning, our big day came...and went. It was so surreal how fast that last week went. The rehearsal dinner went great (as requested, recipes will be posted soon). It was small and informal, but I loved it. My aunts, cousins, and maid of honor stayed with me at the venue Friday night so we could try to set up some of the tables and poof out the 50 tissue paper poms. We called it a night around 11:30p and braced for the storm. And what a storm it was. The wind and lightning were enough to make me jump outta bed. Then there was some huge tarp on top of the water tower that flapped so hard that it sounded like horses running on the roof. Needless to say, we didn't get a great night's sleep. Saturday was quite the whirlwind. Everything went without a hitch except...
Our venue's septic system either overflowed or was running over. The whole place had waves of septic gas breeze through just as our guests were eating dinner!! It was like someone had lit a pile of rotten eggs on fire. I was mortified. Clay is calling the owner today to work something out. We had guests leave!! If that hadn't happened, I could have honestly said that we had ZERO problems. Its so annoying to think that I busted my butt for 14 months and because they didn't pump the system, it was ruined. Oh well, I think we all still had a great time. Something is always going to happen, but that was a big one.
Here are a couple of things to consider on your wedding day and even before:
1. Make sure that if your venue is on septic, insist that they have the system pumped the week of your event.
2. When deciding on decor, incorporate things that you will use again in your home. I will post pics of this shortly. Our apothecary jars are now candle holders, the moss balls are on top of the cabinets, etc.
3. The framed picture as our guestbook was a huge hit. Now, instead of a book collecting dust somewhere, we have a nice framed picture with all our well wishings on the wall to see every time we walk by.
4. Think outside the box. I really liked the way that almost none of the centerpieces were the same. If they all have a little something that ties them together (in our case, lemons and moss), it works without looking so formal.
5. Cake balls were a ton of work. There were many nights that I cursed the day that I thought they would be a good idea. It was worth it. Everyone loved them and it was something different.
6. If you can provide your own alcohol at your venue, do it. It may be stressful wondering if you have gotten enough, but in our case we had a ton left over. Now our bar is fully stocked for our next party!
7. This is a bit of advice I got from my cousin. Stay with your new spouse at the reception as much as you can. You will get pulled in different directions a million times. She told me its so bad, you might as well hold hands or join arms if you can. Even though I got this advice before the wedding and kept it in mind, it still happened. We got separated way more than we should have.
8. Another tidbit for the reception...EAT! We had dinner really early in the night and then we were starving by the time we got to the hotel. Thank goodness we made it in time to get room service! If you can, have your caterer box up a to go box to take with you when you leave.

I am submitting my wedding to a couple of big sites, but it want a sneak peek of some pictures, there are plenty on my Facebook page.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

April Showers

We are down to t-minus 7 days. I've been checking the weather like a freak as soon as the 10 day forecast was available on This time of year is so unpredictable. It poured down rain at my house all day yesterday. All I could picture was my 50 tissue paper poms turning to mush in a storm next weekend. However, it looks like my prayers worked. There is a chance of rain everyday this week...until Saturday! It supposed to be a high of 82 with no chance of rain. I hope it stays that way. I'm so relieved. I really wanted the reception outside and it looks like its going to happen. Karma is finally cooperating. I'm really ready to have a day/night that I'm not up doing wedding projects. Good news is that most of them are done. I have ten more poms to do and about 30 cake balls to dip. Other than that, the rest can't be done until later this week.
Tressa and Paige threw me a bachelorette spa party Friday night. Robin came and did facials and massages for us. I have a major phobia of people touching my face, but after a few glasses of wine, it didn't bother me. She used all natural products that worked wonders. We all looked fresh faced and very exfoliated afterwards. I'm pretty sure I need to get a few massages after the wedding. The knots in my back are ridiculous.
I woke up really early this morning and the to do list started running through my head. Needless to say, I couldn't go back to sleep. I'm getting as much done as I can before Clay gets back home. He's been in Africa for two weeks and gets back on Tuesday. I'm so ready for him to be here and not having to worry about if he makes it back in time! I still can't believe the day is finally going to be here this week!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shower Time

I had my bridal shower about six weeks ago hosted by my maid of honor, Tressa, and her mother, Sylva. Since I am HORRIBLE when it comes to taking pictures, I had to wait to get some from Tressa. Can you tell I had mystic tanned that morning? The scary thing is that I just kept getting darker the rest of that day!
Here is Sylva, Tressa, me, my mom:

Delicious buffet complete with quiches, great cheese, fruit, and stuffed mushrooms caps

The carrot cake was to die for! It was washed down nicely with mimosas

I had a very productive weekend. However, I'm pretty sure my dogs are really tired of me ignoring them in order to make tissue paper poms and moss balls. Ugh...moss balls. If I ever have to handmake another freaking moss ball, it will be too soon. What a mess. They are super cute though. I'm to the point that I'm really tired of looking at wedding stuff. My old room at my mom's house has been overtaken with stuff from various weddings as well. I think we are both ready for a clean sweep in a couple of weeks!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mini Meltdown

This week has been full of mini meltdowns. I think the thought of my wedding being in about two weeks is really starting to freak me out. Not the getting married part, I mean please, we've been together for almost 7 sevens years, its the getting everything done part. My mom nailed it when she said its because I thought I was so prepared and now all the little stuff is starting to snowball. Clay is gone now and won't be back until four days before the wedding. I miss him tons but I will have lots of time to get it all my projects done. The worst was yesterday. I called Central Market to order my cake. Most brides would say, "what?!", because again my wedding is only two weeks away. Well, when I talked to CM months ago, they told me to give them two weeks lead time and it would be fine. They didn't tell me that they only do one wedding cake a weekend. So when I called, they said they were booked for the 24th. I could feel the rush of panic come over me. I cried...over cake. Ugh, I never thought I'd be one of those brides that cried over stupid stuff. I think it was just a moment of bring overwhelmed. I called a ton of bakeries and they were either booked or wanted to charge me the cost of a kidney to do the cake. My cake stand is 14" and I was convinced that a 14" bottom tiered cake wouldn't work. Even Paige, my friend and coordinator, said we could put flowers around the bottom but in my panic haze I didn't listen. After talking to my mom (mom's are magical, aren't they?) she said that it would be fine since my cake stand sits up on legs if the bottom had flowers all the way around the bottom. So, I called HEB and ordered my three tier cake. Its still about double of what CM would have been, but at this point, I didn't care. I should have done this a long time ago. Check it off the list. I mystic tanned last night hoping to camoflouge some of my stress blemishes. For some reason, waking up with a tropical glow puts a smile on my face. I will be quite the weekend wedding warrior so that by next week I won't feel like I want to throw up all the time!