Monday, October 31, 2011

Apple Crisp in a Jar Favors and Place Cards

After making the apple centerpieces, I thought of many more projects to do for an apple wedding!

DIY Apple place cards:  Pin name cards to apples to make simple place cards.  (pretty self-explanatory...=P)

DIY Apple Crisp in a Jar Favors:
Pair the ingredients for apple crisp with an apple place card for a sweet favor your guests can take home and bake for themselves.

Materials: cloth square, baby food jar--thoroughly washed and filled with ingredients for apple crisp (see recipe below), ribbon/raffia, hot glue

 Step 1: Glue cloth square onto baby food jar to hold in place.

Optional: trim the corners of the cloth to make a circle (or leave the corners, depending on how much cloth you want to drape over the side of the jar).  Place lid back on the jar.

Step 2:  Secure the cloth on the lid by tying a length of ribbon or raffia around the bottom of lid.  Print out the recipe instructions on a piece of paper, roll it, and tie to the jar with the raffia.

Apple Crisp:  Place the ingredients into each baby food jar:
- 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. oats
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

* brown sugar is a good layer to use in the middle because it packs together and keeps the other ingredients from shifting.

Recipe instructions:

1.  Mix contents of jar with 1 tbsp. of butter until crumbly.
2.  Sprinkle mixture over 1-2 peeled and sliced apples in  a baking dish.
3.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Apple Bushel Centerpieces

Autumn always reminds me of going apple picking back when we were in college. I can almost smell the fresh apple donuts, too! The harvest season is the perfect time to incorporate apples in your wedding theme--and if you can find apples at 49 cents a pound (thank you Milk Pail Market!), you can breath easy over your wedding budget.

 Make fun centerpieces for your apple-themed wedding by using a bushel basket, cloth napkin, and apples. You can also label your tables by placing a numbered stake in the basket.


- bushel basket
- square cloth napkin (or hemmed fabric of your choice)
- apples
- stake
- cardstock for table numbers
- basket filler (optional)

Step 1: Line basket with napkin. 

 Step 2: (Optional) Fill basket with basket filler (shredded paper, old newspaper, etc.)

Step 3: Attach numbered cardstock to wooden stake. 

 Step 4: Place stake in the center of the basket.

Step 5:  Arrange apples in the basket around the stake.

To imitate the checkered pattern on the cloth, I made a checkered border in Microsoft Word and printed it onto cardstock.  These table numbers were 5 inches wide and 4 inches long.

Have fun!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dyed Tissue Paper Pom-Poms

Tissue paper pom-poms have become a popular wedding decoration--they are cheap, easy to make, and look so dramatic hanging from the ceiling.  After seeing my friend use them at her wedding and gushing over how cool they looked, I started thinking about how to take these pom-poms to another level.  By dying your own tissue paper, you can create a dramatic pom-pom with various splashes of color.

Dying the tissue paper:
- food coloring
- some kind of containers (cups/shallow bowls/plates)
- non-glossy white tissue paper

Step 1: Fold sheets of tissue paper in half until you have a 1-2 inch wide strip.  Fold each strip in half lengthwise so that the ends you dye will be even on both sides.

Step 2: Mix food coloring and water in each container to make your dye.  The less water you use, the stronger the color will be.  Pictured above, I have a cup of just yellow food coloring, red food coloring, and a mixture of red and yellow to create orange.  Dip each part of the folded tissue paper into your desired color, carefully squeezing out any excess water.

Step 3: Lay out strips of tissue paper on newspaper to dry.  Wet tissue paper is very fragile, so wait until it is almost dry before you unfold it.

There are many ways you can dye your tissue paper--keep in mind that colors in the middle are much harder to see once you put the pom-pom together.  I used yellow in the middle of the tissue paper to recreate the look of a flower.  Here are a few varieties so you can see the difference between the dyed tissue paper and the resulting pom-pom:

 This pom-pom was made from a tissue paper that had a gradual change from yellow to pink.  Note how light the color is after the tissue paper dries--so keep that in mind when you are mixing your dyes.

 This pom-pom has a less subtle change from yellow to pink--note how the pink still dominates the look of the pom-pom as the yellow color is buried in the middle of the pom-pom.

You can also cut each end of the folded tissue paper before you dye it--for this pom-pom, I dyed the each strip yellow and then only dipped the edges in red dye.  It was easier to use a plate to hold the dye for dying the edges of each strip.

Making the pom-poms:
- dyed tissue paper
- wire
- scissors
- ribbon

Step 1: Make a stack of tissue paper--12-16 sheets of tissue paper make suitable puffy pom-poms.

Step 2: Like an accordian, fold the stack back and forth until you have a fan that is between 1-2 inches wide.  Twist a length of wire around the middle of the folded fan to hold everything in place.  If you didn't pre-cut the ends of the tissue paper, use scissors to trim the ends into your desired shape.

Step 3: Separate each layer of tissue paper by pulling it up towards the center.  Halfway through the layer, flip the pom-pom over and do the same to the other side.

 Step 4:  Make a loop with the twisted wire and thread a ribbon through it so you can hang the pom-pom.

Have fun!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mediterranean Couscous and Lentil Salad

This simple salad from Gourmet magazine has become a regular favorite at our house after I made a Mediterranean-themed dinner for my in-laws.  The fresh flavors make this salad a tasty side dish to an easy grilled chicken dinner.  The salad keeps well in the fridge for a few days and is ready-to-eat at any time! =)  Here's the recipe:

Mediterranean Couscous and Lentil Salad
Gourmet  | September 1995

  • 1 cup lentilles du Puy* (French green lentils) or brown lentils
  • 3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 bunch arugula, stems discarded and leaves washed well, spun dry, and chopped
  • 2 cups vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 pound feta, crumbled (about 1 cup)

  1. In a small saucepan simmer lentils in water to cover by 2 inches until tender but not falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes, and drain well. Transfer hot lentils to a bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Cool lentils completely, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a saucepan bring water to a boil and add couscous and salt. Remove pan from heat and let couscous stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and cool completely, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together garlic paste, remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir lentils and dressing into couscous. Chill salad, covered, at least 3 hours and up to 24.
  4. Just before serving, stir in remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
Some things I've changed after making this several times:
  • I really like using pearled couscous in this salad because its shape is more similar to the shape of the lentils.
  • Don't skimp on the garlic--I usually use up to three cloves.
  • If you can't find arugula, any spring mix blend also works well.
  • A great addition to the salad is chopped green onions (use 3-4)