Jun 8, 2015

Beautiful Weddings on a Budget

 It's June and that means wedding season. Brides and grooms are everywhere you look: In the closets, under the beds, up in the trees...don't shoot them! They don't mean to be that self-consumed.

Take a breath. June will be over in 30 days. No more tulle. No more Bridezillas. No more fake smiling for the camera. If you're the bride or mother-of-the-bride, pretend we didn't just say that.
 Several years ago, Cindie and I wrote Do It For Less Weddings. It is still in print and has relevant and valuable information.  Let us share some important tips with you.
Ten Cost-Saving Tips for Weddings

Have an afternoon wedding to avoid the expense of serving a full sit-down meal. Serve champagne, cake and cheese platters. It works for two hours.

If serving lunch, place a variety of salads on your buffet table. Plate on many dishes in varied heights, so it looks abundant. Salads are great for the ever growing number of vegans and vegetarians, and you save on not having to purchase as much animal protein, which can be pricey.

Keep control of more expensive appetizer items by having them served by roving waitstaff. This is code for, "pass the shrimp."

Present foods as attractively as possible. As an example, use straight-sided glass containers to hold cut vegetables upright. Stack containers at different levels. Have several colorful dips to choose from. Crudite never goes out of style never! It's low carb and vegan and primal and paleo!
Garnish serving dishes with fresh herbs, petals from edible flowers, or a drizzle of sauce. Food garnish is like a scarf. It helps a dull outfit.
Have sorbet already scooped and frozen into small dessert or liqueur glasses for serving with cake. Many people pass on the cake these days but sorbet is popular and inexpensive. And gluten free!
Order your dream cake in just 2 layers for less significant bucks. And the use it for the pictures. Have a simply decorated sheet cake in the kitchen for servers to cut and pass out to guests.

Decorate your cake with homemade cookies or fresh flowers. Or skip a cake altogether and make beautiful cupcakes instead. See the adorable pictures we have included with this newsletter free of charge.

Wrap small flowering plants or spices in fabric (satin, burlap, whatever goes with your décor) and tie with a ribbon (satin, twine, whatever goes with your décor) and use in place of floral arrangements. Have extra to decorate buffet table. The cost of centerpieces for about four hours of use is ridiculous, unless you like to spend money.
Forego a formal wedding. (Unless you are rich and want your parents to pay because you hated going to camp as a child and your sister got the money for a nose job and you didn't.) 

Want more DIY wedding tips? Check out my interview with Judy Bart Kancigor at JLife!

Jun 7, 2015

Avocado, Coconut & Pistachio Ice Cream

Avocado, Coconut & Pistachio Ice Cream
Makes 6 servings

1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lime zest
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3 ripe avocados
1 (8.5 ounce) can coconut cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped, plus extra for garnish
Shredded coconut for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice.

Refrigerate until cool to the touch.

Cut avocados in half, remove pit and peel.

Place lime juice, avocados, and cream of coconut into the work bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add syrup, pulsing to combine. Stir in pistachios and lime zest.

Pour into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread coconut on a cookie sheet and bake until lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Garnish with toasted coconut before serving.