Thursday, April 28, 2011

The San Diego Wedding - April 16th 2011

Where have I been the past couple of weeks? Well, one week I was away for my wedding and this past week I am coming down from the high and easing back into work.  We have another party coming at the end of May for all of our East Coast family and friends and I can't wait for that! So yeah, I will me MIA for another two weeks at the end of May for the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild Conference and then the second reception in Connecticut. It is all about me me me right now and I appreciate all of the support and patience I have gotten from family, friends and clients. I swear I will get my act together once all of the wedding bliss has passed - for now please enjoy some pics!

The photographer we hired won't have pics ready for a couple of weeks and we had several cameras going so we are trying to get all of the pictures organized but my Sister-in-Law, Jayci, grabbed Shaun and I for a few pics (she took some gorgeous photographs!) and I did my best to document the DIY food before it got consumed.
photos by my new sis - Jayci Lau of Sweet Petite
 We rented a big house in Carlsbad California with a fabulous backyard and enough bedrooms to house our immediate families while they were in town. We went the budget DIY route and were lucky and blessed to have so many hard workers in the house helping to coordinate tasks and get things done! We got to the house Thursday and had family arriving all day Friday and some even coming in Saturday afternoon after the ceremony! We had family from Hawaii, Texas, San Fran and Connecticut flying out to be with us. We went a little unconventional and had a small ceremony Saturday with a family dinner afterwards and then a reception of about 35 friends and family Sunday. It seemed too short - I barely had a chance to spend time with people!
 Me and Dad (also known as Franky P) with Birds of Paradise - his new favorite flower. He spent a lot of time going around the yard inspecting all of the Bird of Paradise flowers like a giddy little kid. Being from New England and not traveling very much, he had never seen them before and called me over a few times to look at some that he found particularly interesting. He is so cute! Here are a couple of his favorites:


 This patio was towards the back of the yard and was the perfect place to hold the ceremony.

Shaun's Grandparents brought Kalua Pig and Lau Lau all the way from Hawai'i and Shaun's Aunties brought some veggies from China Town in San Fran. The evening of the ceremony we has a simple dinner with Kalua Pig, Lau Lau, Chinese Broccoli and Spinach with Oyster Sauce and plenty of rice and Poi! The Aunties surprised up with a cake so we did the feed each other the cake thing! It was fun!

The day of the reception was crazy with family and friends running around, going to the store for last minute items, hanging decorations and making food. The menu turned out to be quite extensive with Kalua Pig sliders, handmade local Tamales and Lumpia, a variety of Cheeses, Charcuterie and Olives,  Caprese and Baby Green Salads, Homemade Cupcakes, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, French Macarons and Hawai'ian Coffee.
Look for this Red Velvet Cupcake recipe on the Soap Queen blog in the next month or so. It is Gluten, Dairy, Egg and Soy free and the cupcakes were flying off the stand at the Reception!
To decorate I printed out Butterflies from a Dover Clip Art Book onto cardstock, cut them out and taped them to toothpicks. A simple but pretty topper!
I made my Own Wedding bouquet and favors. The favors were soap of course! I made a simple tag with an eyelet and tied it with baking twine. The Matchbooks are filled with a honeybee wildflower mix with many plants native to California. I got the project from Martha Stewart Weddings and modified the template to include the seed mix and planting instructions for Connecticut, Hawai'i and San Diego.
I took the bouquet around the yard looking for accents. There was this fabulous patch of lavender and I just had to include some of my favorite plant into the bouquet.
This soap is my Hubby's favorite! It is unscented made with shea butter, jojoba oil and a bunch of other awesome stuff! I added some ground oatmeal and french yellow clay.
Custom Ring Bowl from Paloma's Nest
Another fun project - I made these vases by covering wine bottles with Chalkboard Spray Paint. My Nephew had fun decorating them and my Dad made little arrangements with leftover Bouquet flowers.

There are still a lot of pictures floating around out there so I will add to this post as I collect them and look out for the Connecticut Reception post sometime in June.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ginger and Green Curry Soup

As many of you may know by now I am on a restricted diet due to some food sensitivities to Gluten, Soy, Eggs and Dairy so my kitchen has become a mini food lab for trying out new recipes and modifying recipes I love to make them free of the things I should not eat! Thai curries have been a great inspiration for me with their fresh ingredients and one of my favorite liquids Coconut Milk! I like to eat this soup topped with fresh sprouts and red cargo rice on the side!
 If you have an Asian market in your neighborhood I highly recommend visiting them for vegetables and especially the fresh Ginger root for this recipe. I find that the vegetables at these markets are always very fresh as vegetables make up the bulk in most Asian diets so the produce has a very high turnaround. The veggies at my market are not advertised as organic but since I always find critters in my produce and I take it as a good sign!
 I am always especially excited about the ginger at my local Asian Market. It is always juicy and fresh and they even have Galangal a root in the same family as Ginger and used widely in South East Asia. It has a similar flavor to Ginger but is milder with less heat and slight woody pine flavors. It is used to make Thai Curry Pastes and can be substituted with regular ginger if you want to try and make your own green curry paste. I have seen many recipes but all have the ginger or galangal, garlic, chiles, lemongrass, lime and a spice blend. There are a lot of ingredients on most Green Curry Paste recipes so I like to buy mine pre-made.

Ingredients:
• 32 oz of low sodium vegetable broth from a box or make your own here.
• 1 can (13.5 oz) of Coconut Milk
• 6 large cloves of garlic sliced (or more if you like)
• 3 Tablespoons of grated FRESH ginger root. I like to use a fine cheese grater. Powdered ginger will not give you the heat and sweetness. 
• 1 Tablespoon Green Curry Paste (more or less to your taste)
• 1 Tablespoon sesame seed oil.
• 1 heaping tablespoon of Brown Sugar
• 1 cup rough chopped basil (sweet or thai) 
• 6 green onions light green and white parts, chopped
• Black pepper and Coconut Aminos to taste. (Coconut Aminos is a soy free liquid amino acid seasoning alternative - it kind of tastes like a combination of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and is DELICIOUS! You can use Soy Sauce if you do not have sensitivities)
• Vegetables - you can use just about anything that you have on hand. I am using:
2 Red Bell peppers sliced
3 - 4 cups of Baby Bok Choy cut into 1 inch pieces
2-3 cups stemmed watercress cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 cup whole sugar snap peas
If you are ok with meat you can sub the Veggie Broth for 32 oz. of low sodium Chicken Broth and add one cup of sliced chicken to the soup. 


Method:
1) Wash and dry all of your veggies herbs and spices, cut up and separate into cooking times. Group 1: Garlic, Ginger, Green Onions, Red Peppers. Group 2: Bok Choy Stems and Sugar Snap Peas. Group 3: Basil, Watercress, Bok Choy Leaves. I like to have a few bowls going to hold my veggies as I chop then up since they have different cooking times.
2) In a medium Sauce Pan Heat your Sesame oil and saute Garlic, Ginger, Green Onions and Red Bell Pepper for about one minute to release the flavors - be sure to not burn anything!
3) Add the Sugar, Vegetable Broth, Coconut Milk, Green Curry Paste, Bok Choy and Sugar Snap Peas and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes.
4) Add the Basil, Watercress and Bok Choy Leaves and boil for about 2 minutes.

Enjoy!

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