Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gluten Free Snickerdoodles from With Style & Grace

I spotted this post on Lisa Thiele's facebook page, and just had to check it out.  Lisa's blog, With Style & Grace, is packed full of creative ideas, and she has included lots of recipes, including gluten free goodies like this.  I'll be trying this one with the kids this weekend, they'll love making the ice dream sandwiches! Thanks for sharing Lisa, and the pictures make me drool.
Here's the link to Lisa's post, and I've included the recipe below

{Vegan/Gluten-free} Snickerdoodle Recipe
Print this Recipe
{Recipe adapted by Oh She Glows}
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour mixture – I used Pamela’s. If you don’t want to make them gluten- free, you may use whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 flax egg (1/2 tbsp ground flax + 1.5 tbsp warm water)
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance (vegan option) or butter (non-vegan option)
  • Cinnamon sugar for rolling: 1 tbsp sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon, mixed together
First, prepare the the flax egg (1/2 tbsp ground flax + 1.5 tbsp warm water) and set aside. In a medium sized bowl cream together the sugar, Earth Balance, and vanilla until well combined. Add in flax egg and beat for about 1 minute.
In another bowl, whisk together the cream of tartar, baking soda, flour, and cinnamon. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, mix until combined. Use your hands to knead together the dough. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay Parchment paper over your baking sheet. Roll 1 to 2 tablespoons of dough into a ball. Roll the ball in cinnamon sugar mixture, press the ball with a fork to flatten slightly. Repeat until you’ve gone through the cookie dough.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. For chewy cookies, bake for 10 minutes; crispy cookies, bake for 12 minutes.
Cool for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Organic Elegance Bridal Shower-sneak peek

I'm busting at the seams to share the Organic Elegance Bridal Shower I will be featuring in April.  Here's a little teaser....

There will be chocolate, and clear glass, fabric flowers and delicious food and cocktails, all in a very special place.  Can't wait to get the party started!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Angel Cakes Bakery-Gluten Free Heavenly Goodies

I have been working on a little project for a year now, and finally can share it with all of you.  The Angel Cakes Bakery is now open on Etsy.  I've only listed one item for now, but have many more on the way, just baking away and taking pictures every day.
I have been gluten free for 20 years and have seriously missed cake, pies, cookies, brownies and all the goodies in between.  I learned to let go of the cravings for biscuits and gravy, hot rolls and butter, pizza....well you get the idea.  In the last few years, as the public has become much more aware of Celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and other food allergies, I started to wonder if the products available could be improved upon.  I have never been the type of person to accept mediocre, especially when it comes to food, and when the food is served to my guests, it has to be beyond good, it needs to be exceptional. 
I have baked for years, learning form my Grandma, Mom, Dad and many, many cookbooks.  I decided to attempt a gluten free cake that could fool anyone who ate it.  All of the gluten free cakes I had tried in the past were grainy and dry, wet and heavy, or tasted like cardboard.  Many mixes and recipes have been publicized and even some of the major players have put a few boxes on your grocery shelf.  They just left me with a bad taste in my mouth, literally.
So, I started testing recipes, flour combinations, techniques and timing.  Finally, one Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I pulled a cake out of the oven, let it cool a little, and pulled off a corner and popped it in my mouth.  The flavor of the vanilla bean was the first thing I noticed, then as it melted in my mouth, I was surprised to find that my mind went directly to my Grandma's kitchen.  The smell of cake filled the air and I couldn't wait to smear a big "gob" of frosting on the slice she would cut from the top to level the cake.  She called this a "twinkie".  I called it heaven with a glass of milk. 
Back in my own kitchen I stacked my luscious gluten free layers, filled them with vanilla bean butter cream, layered them with strawberries and piled on a mountain of her special "angel frosting".   Last touch was piping on a few simple swirls of pink butter cream and some cute little fondant drops.  And so, Angel Cakes Bakery was born. 

I carried the cake with me to a function the next morning and served 25 people.  I waited silently for the reviews.  My husband came to tell me later that afternoon that no one could stop talking about how delicious the cake was.  And no one was gluten free.  I thought I would explode.  Life as I knew it was about to change.  No longer would I ever accept the bland, dry, heavy baked junk that I have eaten for the last 20 years. 
Next up, the most indulgent Double Chocolate cake I've ever tasted.  I perfected it tonight, and will post the pictures this week. 

Have a sweet night.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gluten Free Events + Nourish Restaurant

Many of you may not know what "gluten free" means, or why I would be posting about it.  Well, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease almost 20 years ago, and have maintained a gluten free diet for all these years.  I honestly never felt that I had a choice.  The complications and illness that is involved if I do not maintain this strict diet are not worth the risk.  Without going into detail about the disease (if you want to find out more...Celiac Sprue Association) I will be concentrating much of my time to promoting Gluten Free Event Planning.  I am passionate about offering clients a choice when it comes to planning their perfect day.  This includes being able to eat everything at your own party.  This also includes making sure your guests  enjoy the food as well.  For many years gluten free has meant compromising taste for our health.  Now that the public has been made much more aware of gluten intolerance, mainly thanks to Chelsea Clinton and her infamous gluten free/vegan wedding, I think a lot of us will be bravely stepping out and declaring that we too deserve food that tastes fabulous.  I am passionate about offering brides, Moms, Dads, Grandmas & Grandpas, and businesses the ability to focus on the celebration/event without worrying that someone may get sick, or that the food is not good.  A special day deserves really delicious, over the top yummy food, including dessert!
 I visited with the owner of Nourish Restaurant yesterday in Scottsdale at the gorgeous Camelview Village, and got a tour of her 100% gluten free heaven.  Check out his short video for the scoop on this hip, chic, gluten free spot, and by the way, the patio is such a cool place to hang out.
 Kirstin Carey's story is very familiar to me as she says "I was tired of being the freak at the table".  I too am SO tired of explaining why I won't be eating bread with my meal, or having a piece of my own Birthday Cake after the candles are blown out. This restaurant was created, she says, so she could eat!  Her guests come for miles to enjoy a large menu which also excludes many, many other allergens according to the color coded and extremely detailed ingredient specifications on the diverse menu.  Kirstin is constantly reviewing and questioning her vendors about their specific ingredients, and yesterday she and her chef Dan Santos decided they needed to make their own mayonnaise, as none of the premade one's could meet their high standards.  Now this is dedication to the cause.  Providing safe, gluten free, and above all really delicious food to a community of people who have waited so long for the world to recognize and finally cater to their needs and above all their taste buds.  Thanks Kirstin, and I look forward to the Bridal Shower Styled Photo shoot we will be featuring soon in your beautiful restaurant with the delicious food, and an over-the-top dessert table. "Organic Elegance" is our theme for the party, so watch for my posting of pictures soon.
 "If there were to be a restaurant in heaven, I do believe this would be the ONE. Modern, upbeat, healthy food. We will be back….my mouth is already drooling." ~Meg E., Phoenix, AZ

Have a sweet day - gluten free of course.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Color Inspiration-Crisp & Sweet

A sure sign of Spring in the desert is wildflowers.  They are multiplying daily on the mountain trails near our home.  Soon they will be joined by red and purple tall slender stalks.  They'll be gone soon enough with the climbing temperature, but for now, they remind me that I really have to enjoy the cool mornings and warm afternoons, and the intoxicating smell of orange blossoms that fill the air. 

Drew Barrymore on the cover of Bazaar inspired this bright, crisp, fresh inspiration board.  Have a sweet week!

Save the Date: Oh So Beautiful Paper
Dress: Dior

Cake: City Bake Shop

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St Patrick's Day Wedding

This is a post from one of my favorite photographers, Heather Waraksa, in New York.  Her talent is amazing, and her style is so unique, I could look through her photos all day.  This wedding really helps to show that the"wearing of the green" can be quite beautiful.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Anatomy of a Cupcake

This print is on my wishlist for my birthday! Cutest thing, and I can just see it hanging in my kitchen, or in my bakery some day soon.

The best part is the video showing how this amazing chart was created just go to the link

Happy Lesleigh Day! « Things

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Picking a Flower-Orchids

Orchids are truly amazing, and becoming a lot more common, not just at weddings.  I am finding them every week in my local grocery store, and although I haven't been ambitious enough to think that I can actually GROW one at home, I have purchased their sturdy branches for many projects, including the one I posted yesterday. 
 As I searched through photos of the many brilliant colors of orchids, I am touched by the delicate beauty of the few petals placed in just the right position to make me swoon.

The amazing thing about orchids?  They are very sturdy little beauties, and they last a really long time.  If you've never held one of these little beauties in your hand, get yourself to the store on the corner, and just touch one.
photo credit
 They look almost unreal, yet to the touch they are cool, calm loveliness at it's finest. Worth the money, yes, just use a few of them to add an exotic coolness to your loveliest day.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Blogging Your Way -Class

A few weeks ago I decided to up my blogging game, so to speak.  I enrolled in a class called "Blogging Your Way".  So far, this has been a soul searching journey, and one that I would surely recommend to anyone who is blogging, whether for fun or profit.  Part of the learning experience has been getting to know my camera.  My relationship with my camera has been a love/hate affair for many years, and it's finally time to tame the monster.  Here is the result of my first try at manual settings, morning light and styling a floral shoot. 

Hope everyone is having a sweet week.  Ang

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gluten Free Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

Being gluten free is a challenge, there is not doubt about it.  One of the things I missed the most at first was Asian food, but as the years went by, more gluten free products were introduced, and I was able to substitute these for the usual ingredients in my recipes.  I adapted this recipe to include a gluten free teriyaki sauce that I purchase at Sprouts here in Phoenix.

If you can't find this sauce, look for a gluten free soy sauce and just add a little sugar to your marinade.

Gluten Free Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

4 Skinless Chicken Breast (bone in or out, your choice)
Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce
One lemon
Fresh ground pepper
1 clove Minced garlic

Put chicken in deep bowl or zip lock bag
Pour GF Teriyaki Sauce over chicken almost to cover
 Cut and squeeze lemon over chicken
Grind fresh pepper over chicken to your taste
Mince garlic and put in bowl with chicken

Mix with your hands or tongs and cover, refrigerate at least one hour, or at most, overnight.Throw these on the grill and cook until juices run clear, or until done to your tastes.
I love to eat this chicken the next day sliced on a sandwich, or into rice with vegetables.

Southern Green Beans & Potatoes

My Mom planted a garden every year, and green beans were always fresh in our house.  This dish was a staple as I grew up, and I crave it with cornbread and butter, a great vegetarian dinner, and the leftovers are so good for lunch the next afternoon, so make sure you make plenty.  If you are watching your fat and salt, then omit the salt pork, but the taste is really worth it!
 I have not listed quantities, as I make a large pot, it you want to make less, this will make it easy.  There is not a perfect combination of green beans and potatoes, only YOUR perfect combo.

Southern Style Green Beans and Potatoes

Fresh green Beans
Yukon Gold Potatoes (use your favorite kind of potatoes)
Salt Pork (you can substitute bacon)
Water or vegetable broth (or combination) to cover beans and potatoes halfway
salt and pepper to taste

Break the ends of the beans off and snap into bite size pieces.
Peel potatoes and cut into uniform size pieces
 Cut Salt pork into large pieces (to be removed later)
Put green beans into large, deep pot and cover with potatoes and then salt pork.

Add salt and pepper
Pour water and/or vegetable broth into pot

Cook on high heat until boiling, then turn heat down to low and simmer for one hour, or until potatoes and beans are tender to your taste.  Remove salt pork and enjoy as I do with Southern Style Cornbread Gluten Free

Southern Cornbread Gluten Free

My Southern heritage is ingrained in my cooking, so when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease almost 20 years ago, I was depressed to say the least.  Although I was relieved to know that my health and well being could be restored with a change in diet, I was sincerely lost.  I spent so many years experimenting with prepared mixes, and frozen products, and also a LOT of money.  It's also taken just as many years to become comfortable with my cooking once again, and to trust myself to prepare gluten free meals that I enjoy, and meals that my family and guests can enjoy tool. So, here is the first of many recipes that I have learned over the years, I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it brings you comfort to know that you can eat gluten free and delicious compromise here!

Southern Cornbread- Gluten Free
1/4 cup vegetable oil or shortening
2 cups white or yellow cornmeal (gluten free)
2 tablespoons flour (gluten free) or all purpose blend that you like
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten free)
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups buttermilk or 8 tablespoons buttermilk powder and 2 cups water

1 egg

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pour oil 9or place shortening) into a cast iron skillet and put into oven as it is preheating.
In a large bowl combine dry ingredients and mix well.   Set aside.
 Combine water, buttermilk (if using dry buttermilk powder, just add water here, as dry powder will be combined in dry ingredients) and egg, Whisk to combine.

Pour wet ingredients into bowl containing dry ingredients and whisk to combine.  The mixture may be very thin if using Buttermilk powder, if real buttermilk is used, it will be consistency of cake batter

Remove skillet form oven and swirl oil inside pan (carefully) to coat sides of pan.
 Pour hot oil into batter, stirring constantly with whisk just until blended.

Pour batter into hot skillet and place into oven.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Remove and serve hot with  butter and/or honey.
This is how I like it...with my Grilled Chicken and Southern Style Green Beans & Potatoes

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tips for Staying Sane & Organized..Last Couple of Days

It’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important while you’re immersed in the tangled logistical web of event preparation.  Instead of dreaming about taking cooking classes together, decorating your first apartment, or deciding where to spend your first married Thanksgiving, you’re pulling your hair out over the color of your cocktail napkins, tying ribbons on your wedding programs, finalizing the play list for your DJ, arguing over the color of the groomsmen’s ties, debating how many flavors your cake should have…well, the list goes on.
First, breathe (it really does help).  Second, give your groom a hug (hey, he’ll be your husband soon, so don’t lose sight of that!).  Third, read below for a few practical tips to stay organized and sane these last couple of days before your big day.
  • Go get yourself a massage! Or a manicure, pedicure, whatever spa treatment suits your fancy.  Something just for you that will help you relax.  Ahhh, sounds nice, right?
  • Utilize your bridesmaids. Delegate, delegate, delegate!  These are your closest friends and family you’ve asked to stand with you and support you during your engagement and on your wedding day.  Ask for help.  Don’t have time for last minute errands?  Someone needs to be picked up from the airport?  It doesn’t hurt to ask.  Your friends want to be there for you.
  • Gather everything you’ll need for your wedding day and put it in one place. You'll sleep so much better at night knowing where everything is.  The last thing you want to happen....30 minutes before the wedding begins, discovering that you forgot that perfect shade of lipstick you purchased 6 months ago, or the garter, or the flower girl's basket.
  • Put together and emergency kit. Every good wedding planner has an emergency kit stocked with things like safety pins, deodorant, hairspray, aspirin, band aids..this list goes on and on. Buy small travel size items from the drugstore and throw them into a small zip lock or makeup case to grab on your way to the ceremony.  It can save the day for you and your wedding party.
  • Make sure your dress and veil are steamed and ready to go. Don't wait until the last minute to do this.  When you pick up your dress, if the shop didn''t do it for you, take it directly to your local dry cleaner for steaming...just don't forget to go back and pick it up!
  • Pack for your honeymoon if you’re leaving right after your wedding. Encourage your groom to pack.  Set aside passports, travel documents, clean clothes, your wedding night apparel, travel money – anything you want to bring with you.  As your day approaches, you don’t want to be scrambling. My husband and I were not packed when the shuttle arrived at 10 am the morning after our wedding.  I ended up in Tahiti without a blow dryer, and with one pair of shoes.  Not a disaster, but definitely not what I planned.
  • Set aside tip money in labeled envelopes for any vendor that will be receiving gratuity. Then give it to the designated person who will be distributing the day of your wedding.
  • Send your wedding party one final reminder with the event timeline of the wedding event(s), attire requests (think rehearsal/rehearsal dinner, before the ceremony, accessory requests for the bridesmaids, etc.), and overall event expectations. This includes where to be, what to wear, and when to arrive.  Everyone’s excited for the big day and may be traveling to get to your wedding.   Sending everyone in the wedding party a final timeline helps both you and them stay organized and make sure no one forgets anything!
  • Remember – your wedding is one day.  Your marriage is for a lifetime! Keep things in perspective, don’t sweat the small stuff (not everything will go according to plan – that’s okay!), kiss your groom, and sit back and enjoy the ride! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Venue Review + The Venue Scottsdale

I recently toured The Venue Scottsdale in Old Town Scottsdale.  If you have lived here long enough, you may remember this building as "The Cajun House" nightclub.  In the 90's it was a hot place to go.  Now, it is "The Venue Scottsdale". Located at 7117 E. 3rd Avenue.

The outside of the building does not even begin to offer a clue about what is waiting inside for you.  A nice reception area at the front desk can be used as an area for a guestbook sign in and greeting area.  As you enter to the left, or right of the desk you will be amazed as you step directly into New Orleans.  A cobblestone street with building fronts, balconies with iron railings, streetlamps, and so much ambiance!
  I was in love immediately.  I love a good theme.  There, I've said it.  I simply find an event much more fun when there is a common thread, other than just color.  Which by the way, The Venue offers in spades.

Large enough to accommodate all your guests, yet intimate enough, due to divided spaces, booths, 4 bars (maybe there were more) and even a billiards room with a cozy fireplace, for everyone to want to hang out all night long.
 As for the ceremony space, well I think  The Venue's quotes from their website say it best:
The saloon-inspired upstairs Ballroom features soft red silk and velvet lined walls, dark mahogany paneling, crown molding and chic chandeliers. The result is a classic and sophisticated space with huge creative capabilities. The Upstairs Ballroom is frequently used for casino style events as well as silent auctions, virtual reality games, wedding ceremonies, as a lounge during events and much more. This timeless space exudes class, a hint of nostalgia and perhaps even a rat-pack inspired edge!

I think my favorite thing about this venue is the variety of spaces for guests to hang out in.  Oh, yea, and the stage!  Large enough for a huge band, or even the ceremony, if you like to grandstand!  The dance floor is directly in front of it and the area for your reception tables is large enough to really spread out. 
VIP lounge
I loved it and can't wait for an opportunity to plan a wedding, or other fabulous party in this space. Also did I mention they have their own chef?  Yum.

Contact The Venue Scottsdale for a tour of your own: Contact The Venue Scottsdale

Monday, March 7, 2011

Your Wedding Budget Worksheet

 As you begin to plan your big day, it is really important to start by discussing your budget with your partner, or whoever is paying for your wedding. This worksheet can help you keep track, in a very basic way, of all of the detailed costs involved.  As you begin to make decisions, you can just plug in the estimates.  For example:  You decide to wear your mother's wedding gown which decreases your percentage for ATTIRE, and you can then increase your percentage for RECEPTION, and get that over-the-top cake that you really want.  Even if you're not good with numbers, this simple process may help you keep your sanity, and stay on track.
Don't forget the most important addition you can make to this budget...a Bridal Consultant.  Not only can I keep you on track, but I can save you enough money to pay for my service the day of your wedding, so you can relax and have fun. Wedding planners have professional relationships with vendors, we are trained to negotiate contracts, and we are educated on the latest trends and money saving techniques.

Your Total Budget $25,000.00
Expenses % of total budget Your estimate
Location fee, officiant fee, marriage license, musician's fees, ring pillows
3% $750.00
Reception Site, Food, Drinks, Rentals, Cake, Favors
48% $12,000.00
Dress, Headpiece/veil, undergarments and hosiery, shoes, accessories, jewelry, hair and makeup, Groom's Tuxedo or Suit, shoes, bow tie, cuff links, studs, suspenders
10% $2,500.00
His and her rings, engraving
3% $750.00
Ceremony, bride's bouquet, maid-of-honor and bridesmaid bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres, centerpieces, flower-girl basket
8% $2,000.00
Ceremony Musicians, Band and/or DJ, cocktail hour musicians, sound system rental
8% $2,000.00
Photographer and Videographer's fees, albums, additional prints, disposable cameras for candids
12% $3,000.00
Transportation for wedding party, guest shuttle and/or parking attendants
2% $500.00
Invitations, response cards, thank you notes, postage, calligraphy, guest book
3% $750.00
Bridesmaid and groomsmen, parents, welcome baskets for out-of-town guests.
3% $750.00

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Choosing a Color Palette using Your Favorite Flowers


This is the second in a series of posts about choosing your color palette, and as I suggested before, if you truly want to make the day YOUR STYLE, put some thought into the colors you surround yourself with every day, or in this case, the flowers you wish you could surround yourself with everyday.
photo courtesy of style me pretty

These boards are inspired by flowers.  My purpose here is to get you started thinking outside the "wedding box" when it comes to your color palette.  It's very easy to get swept away by someone elses style when you start looking at wedding web sites.  Just keep in mind that this is YOUR day, and it should reflect YOUR STYLE.
photo by luster studios

So with this in mind, search for the many beautiful, subtle color ranges that lie within the florals that nature has blessed us with.  Here you'll find the shades and tones that make you feel good, make you want to dance....oh wait, that's what you're supposed to feel like on your wedding day, your birthday, your anniversary, etc.  A day of celebration should be filled with your favorite colors that make you feel like you could just PICK them, like your favorite flowers.

photo by amy butler