"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind... We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith." -- Margaret D. Nadauld

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blood, Sweat and Flour

I’m cheap.
I admit it and I embrace that part about me.
I hate spending money on frivolous things like: FOOD!
Seriously, how stupid is it to spend a ton of money on something that is so consumable? You eat it, you enjoy it for the 30 seconds it’s dancing around on your taste buds, you swallow it and then… well… we all know where it goes after that.
Yet, I (obviously) enjoy eating.
I really enjoy putting that tasty food on my taste buds for that 30 seconds and savoring each flavor as I chew each bite
(unless it’s really good. Then I just inhale the food.)
That left me in a bit of a conundrum as I was preparing for
Buttercup and Biff’s reception.
How do I serve the tastiest morsels ever without spending a gazillion dollars?
My answer was simple:

I make all the food.

1) It’s much cheaper than catering.
2) I am in control of the ingredients.
3) I am in control of the outcome and how it ultimately looks and tastes.
If it tastes great, then I win.
If it tastes bad, then I can’t blame anyone else.
Which can cause a problem
because if it tastes bad and doesn’t work,
I’d rather blame someone else…
Ahh… what a vicious circle!
I digress.
I felt that I would save a lot of money if I made all the tasty reception treats on my own.
So that’s what I set out to do.
Here’s our menu:
1) Ohio Buckeyes2) Mini pies3) Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread4) Oreo Bark5) Brownie Bites6) Cream Cheese mints7) Mini fruit pizzas8) Mini cream puffs *9) Mini cheesecake bites *
* Foods that I purchased.
I have to say that I’m pretty proud of how things turned out!

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I’ve never planned a wedding reception before, so I didn’t know how to plan the numbers.
I made the Ohio Buckeyes first.
(They are a peanut butter balled dipped in chocolate)
I made about 700 of them and they were the crowning jewel of the refreshment table.
I didn’t realize how many 700 really were.
That was an insane amount.
Steck and I ended up dipping only about 500.
That was an insane amount.
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My mini pie shells were different. I only made about 300 of those.
I used my regular pie shell recipe and a flower cookie cutter to cut the shells out. Then I baked them in mini muffin tins. They were so tiny and cute and the crowning jewel on the refreshment table.
A  serious amount of time and effort was needed in baking them. I felt like a quitter when I gave up after baking 300. I wanted to bake more, but I ran out of shortening and was too cheap to buy more.
If 300 wasn’t enough, it was too bad.

We filled the shells with pie filling purchased at Prepared Pantry. which is pretty much the coolest store in the western United States.
We used chocolate, lemon, cherry and apple pie filling. It comes in pastry-type tubes, so it was a breeze to squeeze a dollop into the shell and then top with a squirt of whipped cream from a can.
They were so cute!
(From left: Oreo Bark, Mini Pies, Ohio Buckeyes and Brownie Bites)
The mini fruit pizzas were my crowning jewel.
I saw the idea on Pinterest but used my own recipes.
I baked about 400 round sugar cookies and used my aunt’s fruit pizza recipe to make the cream cheese “sauce” that goes under the fruit.
That was topped with slices of strawberries, blueberries and kiwi.
They were so pretty and absolutely delicious.
DSC_0360
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Biff specifically requested the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip recipe. I had help on this one!
I baked the first 5 loaves….my recipe makes 3 at a time.
BUT WAIT!!The math doesn’t work out on that!
When I baked the first 3 loves, I didn’t put parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, so when I dumped them out, the bottom of the bread stuck to the bottom of the pan.
It’s not attractive.
And you can’t serve “unattractive” to your guests.Sadly, my family had to consume the ugliest loaf that refused to be separated from its baking dish.
It was definitely a burden, but we sacrificed. ;-)
(The recipe is called Better Than Great Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.
I promise it wasn’t a burden to consume that destroyed loaf.)
My wonderful seester, Red, made another batch of the bread, so that gave us a total of 8 loaves.
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Remember when I posted my brownie recipe last summer?
That’s the recipe I used for my brownie bites.
When I was baking the mini pie shells, I looked at that cute little mini-muffin tin that I borrowed from Steck and had an epiphany.
I wanted to use that pan to make brownies!
Brownies that were cute, and colorful chocolaty goodness.
So how could I do that?
I held on to the pan and slept and pondered and brain stormed (with myself) on how I could make those bites yummy and memorable and pretty.
And then it came to me!
I have a recipe for mint brownies.
You make a mint flavored frosting and frost the brownies. Then you slather the top of the frosting with a chocolate coating to seal it up.

I’m pretty sure the brownie bites were the crowning jewel of my refreshment table.
I bought fuchsia food coloring from Prepared Pantry and colored the icing, hoping it would match Buttercup’s color theme.
(It was close… which is pretty good when it comes to food.)
When I finished making them and putting them together, I was very relieved to take 300 of them over to my neighbor’s freezer.
Otherwise we would have taken only about 75 to the reception.
They were so good and extremely tempting!
DSC_0351
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The Oreo Bark was not planned. I made it the night before the reception.
Biff loved it.
I tried making a cream cheese and Oreo cookie to fit the color theme, and they FAILED!
Dismally.
This left me with  3 packages of left over Oreos. And I wanted to do something with them.
I remembered seeing a picture on Pinterest where you take crushed Oreos and mix it into melted white chocolate and pour it onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
When it’s cool, you break it into small pieces and voila!
A delicious sweet treat is born!
I liked how the black and white of the Oreo and white chocolate looked on the table.
DSC_0324

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Also on Pinterest, I saw a recipe for Cream Cheese mints.
I remember my mom made these when we were little.
I LOVED them!So I asked Steck if she would make them for me, which she graciously agreed to do.

I was really bummed for a couple days because I couldn't find the left-over mints. I searched high and low and I couldn't locate them. But today I started cleaning out "Command Central" -- which is Mom Talk for "The Extra Bedroom Where All the Wedding Stuff is Stashed" and lo and behold! there they were!
I was pretty excited!

They were beautiful and matched Buttercup’s color theme as well.

I also found the left over pie shells, so put them together and took a photo so Buttercup and I can always remember what the treats looked like.

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My last two dessert treats were purchased at Sam’s Club. Mini cream puffs (which I hear are quite tasty) and cheesecake bites. I didn’t get a taste of either.
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It was a LOT of work doing all that baking.
But I had a BLAST!
I’m sure my hands will eventually recover and stop cracking and bleeding from all the washing (dishes and hand washing) that I did, but it was all worth it.
And I’d do it all again.
To save money.
To have fun.
To create a beautiful memory for my child.
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P.S. I will post recipes for these treats, eventually.

4 comments:

gelly said...

WOAH! That was A LOT of work! Buttercup is lucky to have such a talented mom. Bless your heart.

Garden of Egan said...

OH MY GOODNESS!!!! That looks absolutely fabulous! Everything looks like it was the crowning jewel of the table.

SO much work! Thanks for sharing the pictures!

I'm looking forward to some pictures of the bride and groom too.

Garden of Egan said...

I've never been to the Preparedness Pantry..........now you have me itching to go.

JackieG said...

You are AMAZING! Every bite was a crowning jewel. Valerie, you are the Queen of Dessert! Everything looked beautiful and tasted even better. You could taste the love in every morsel.
Way to go! Now get some R&R, you deserve it.