wedding

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Golden Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream and Wedding Reception Recap

Published October 16, 2013 by jenmatteson

As many of you know, we recently celebrated our marriage with a big party at my parent’s house.  Okay, yes, it was almost a month ago, but hey, at least I’m telling you about it!  The party was a lot of work, and everything was put together with the huge help of my family.  My poor husby was sick for several weeks (with bronchitis – though we didn’t know it until after the party), so we had to work extra hard to pull it all off.  And just so you know…the hubs and I made that cupcake stand.  Pretty bad ass, right!?

Golden Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

The day before the event was pretty crazy and I was putting everyone to work, including my 2-year-old niece and 5-year-old nephew.  Here’s a quick peek at everyone:

The most adorable niece, Grace, and my big brother, Matt.

Matt and Grace

THE BEST dad and coolest nephew, Carter.

Grandpa and Carter

The cupcake czar and insanely great decorator, my sister-in-law, Colleen.

Cupcake Master!

My poor sick hubs, Nate.

Nate

And by far, my right hand woman, the boss, flower artist, and so much more, my wonderful mom!

My momma!

The party was in my parents’ front yard and was held as an open house, so people could come and go as they please.  We provided a taco bar, a chip and salsa bar, beverages, and cupcakes for dessert.  I made toffee as favors, which was a HUGE hit.  Everyone seemed to love it.  And if they didn’t, they didn’t tell me about it 😛

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Toffee Favors

Because they have an enormous amount of land, we invited our friends to camp and stay late with us.  This led to a tournament of flip cup, which I must say, I’m pretty good.  Though, I have to admit, it did take a while to settle in, but once I got the hang of it, Team Doily, aka, Lace Gangstas, were unstoppable!

Late night flip cup

I made the cupcakes for dessert – two kinds of cake with two kinds of frosting.  Both the chocolate cake and frosting was a no-brainer, as I love this chocolate cupcake with caramel ganache frosting.  Being a chocolate freak, the vanilla was not as easy.  These cupcakes took a few practice batches, but they were perfectly moist and bouncy (I’m not really sure if that’s a proper food description word, but it was bouncy and springy, like you’d want a cake to be).

The frosting on the other hand was a chore.  The first recipe I tried was an Italian meringue buttercream.  I liked it because it was not too sweet, but most others who tried it weren’t big fans.  So I enlisted the direction of my sister-in-law, who rocks at baking!  She suggested using the Wilton buttercream recipe, so I tried it out.  The original recipe was far too sweet for me, but seemed to please others.  I ended up going with it, but reduced the sugar by a skosh, so it wasn’t overly sweet.  The result was excellence!  I cannot at all take credit for frosting these pictured cupcakes – my aforementioned sister-in-law graciously frosted all 12 dozen cupcakes for our party.  I couldn’t have done it without her!

Golden Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Golden Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine and Wilton
Servings: Makes 12 cupcakes, about 3 cups of frosting

Ingredients:

For the buttercream:
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp milk

For the cupcakes:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk, room temperature

Directions:

1. Make the buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together shortening and butter.  Add vanilla and gradually add sugar one cup at a time on a low speed.  Scrape down sides to incorporate all sugar.  Icing will appear dry at this point.  Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

2. Keep bowl covered with damp cloth until ready to use.  Icing can also be refrigerated in an airtight container and stored for up to 2 weeks.

3. Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.

5. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, cream together sugar, eggs and vanilla until smoothed and slightly thickened.  Add butter and oil and mix until well combined.  Add dry ingredients and milk in three alternating batches, beating well inbetween additions.  Pour batter into muffin liners, filling about 2/3 full.

6. Bake cupcakes on center rack for 18-20 minutes.  Mine took exactly 18, but every oven is different.  Let the muffins cool slightly in the muffin tins, about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

7.  Frost cupcakes with chilled buttercream.

Destination Wedding Recap

Published September 16, 2013 by jenmatteson

I mentioned a few days ago that Nate and I just got married in Sonoma, CA.  It was a small destination wedding for us Minnesotans.  Quite funny, when people found out we were from Minnesota, they would ask how cold it was there or if we were enjoying the warm weather.  It’s Minnesota, people, not the Arctic Circle!  And actually, while we were gone, it was miserably hot and humid in Minnesota, and gorgeous, sunny and mid-80s everyday in California.

But you’re not reading this for the weather report, right?  You wanted to read about our trip. Okay, if you’re like me, I’d prefer pictures to reading, so I’ll share a few good ones with a short caption.  It was so hard to cut it down from all the great pictures and times we had, but I tried to keep it to a minimum.  Tried. Here we go…

 

 

My Princess, Charlotte

 

This is my peanut, princess, snuggle buddy and all around fur bestie, Charlotte.  She was not happy the morning we left and really tried putting up a fight.

Getting Started

 

While this is a classic plane picture that almost everyone I know has taken, mine comes with a wonderful story.  The morning we were leaving, we weighed our one checked bag, and it was almost 70 lbs.  We have to take some stuff out and put in another carry-on, as we were trying to only check one bag.  Nate suggests just taking out a bag full of items we were putting in the welcome bags for our guests, which I agree and we’re good to go.  Fast-forward, as we’re checking in, I realize I’ve forgotten my credit card.  Now, that’s not a huge deal, but inconvenient as we put everything on that card for the points.  Fine, no biggie, Nate’s parent’s will bring it when they come on Sunday.  We get upstairs to the security line, and are just unpacking our items on the belt when I realize I’ve forgotten my water bottle at the ticketing counter.  Since we have time, Nate says to go get it, and he’ll wait for me on the other side of security.  He takes everything through with him, with the exception of one carry-on bag (the extra one with the welcome bag items in it) and my ID.  I walk back down to the ticketing counter, my water bottle is exactly where I left it.  On my way back upstairs, I realize, I can’t carry this bag on, it’s got a ton of liquids in it.  As I turn around to go back to the ticketing counter to check it, I also realize that I don’t have any way of paying for this bag as Nate is with my purse.  I then turn around again (I’m sure people thought I was insane just turning in circles as I continue to think of things), and have to see if I can get Nate’s attention through the glass, as he’s on the other side of the security line.  We have to sign (as best we can) what the heck is going on, and finally he gets a security agent to pass his wallet through to me.  I check the bag, and we’re golden.  But, being that I am an extremely organized person, I’m completely frazzled for all that had gone wrong already.  Hence, my well deserved screwdriver, which Nate had to buy me!

Crossing Golden Gate

Leaving cool, cloudy San Fransisco for sunny warm Sonoma County.

 

Seeing ceremony site fot first time

Seeing our ceremony site for the first time in person, less than a week before.

Stocking up

Stocking up on one of our favorite wines at Viansa for our guests.

Domaine Chandon

Domaine Chandon in Napa with Nate’s parents, having oysters and picking out sparkling wine for the wedding.

Getting the party started

First guests arrive and we get the party started with a welcome BBQ.

Ladies Spa Party

Kim relaxing at the spa

Leah relaxing at the spa

Ladies Spa Day!

Groom's Dinner

Guy time

Kim and me at Groom's Dinner

Groom’s Dinner at Hopmonk in Sebestapol.

Late night cards

End of most nights was either cards or pool after dinner.

Getting ready for big day!

Getting ready for the big day!

Saying our vows

Saying our vows at the ceremony with our “official officiant”, AKA my bestie, Leah.

The Whole Gang

The entire group.

Tasting grapes

After the ceremony at Kunde Family Estate, we had a private tour of their wine caves and got to taste all the grapes.

On the way to dinner

The group in the party bus on the way to dinner.

St. Francis

Walking into St. Francis, where we had a private food and wine pairing from the kitchen of Executive Chef Bush.  One of the best meals I’ve ever had!

Tasting room at St. Francis

Dinner at St. Francis.  SO GOOD!  I absolutely loved that round table.

My parent's at Bodega Bay

The day after the wedding, Nate and I went with my family to Bodega Bay for some great views and a little rock climbing.

My dad, my brother and me

After taking the long way (climbing up the rocks) we made it!

Guys at El Dorado Kitchen

Ladies at El Dorado Hotel entrance

On Friday night, the “friends” went out for dinner together.  We started at El Dorado Kitchen in the Sonoma Square; I had to have the peach jalapeno martini.  YUM!

Cheers at The Girl and the Fig

Friends dinner at The Girl and the Fig.  Ladies only champs cheers!  Another of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.  If you travel to Sonoma County, you HAVE to eat here.  Plus, we had fantastic service!

Cline Winery

Saturday was a day of friends wine tasting.  This is the ladies at Cline Winery.

My honey with Suzanne at Naked Wines

Nate and I had visited Naked Wines and became “Angels” (wine club members) on the first visit.  We had to bring our friends back.  We had such a fantastic time, we met the manager, who gave us two bottles for free as a wedding gift!  Not only that, but she gave us a private tour, let us taste juice that was just crushed and wine from a barrel that was ready to be bottled.  Definitely recommend a visit to this place if you ever are in town.

Nate and Kim at Viansa

We said goodbye to our friends at Viansa.  All but one went back to San Francisco that evening to catch early Sunday flights. Overall, we had such a fantastic wedding trip, everything was perfect, and we couldn’t thank our family and friends enough for sharing in this special day and trip with us.

St. Francis Tasting Room

Not gone, just married!

Published September 4, 2013 by jenmatteson

It’s been a few weeks since my last post, and I bet you’re wondering if I’ve quit blogging.  Well, I haven’t.  I was just off getting married in Sonoma, CA for the last 10 days, so I’ve been slightly preoccupied.

I’ll be sure to write a full (slightly full to protect the “innocent”) re-cap, but to tide you over, here are a few quick pics for you to enjoy!

My Groom and Me

Site of our Wedding Ceremony

 

More later.  Have some catching up to do at home first, and must use up all my great veggies that flourished while I was gone!  Oh, and also have the at home party to plan.  But I promise, I’ll share more!

A Wine Country Wedding: Invites and Information Packets

Published April 4, 2013 by jenmatteson

Most people who know me well, know that I love planning events, so planning my destination wedding has been a lot of fun so far!  A lot of work, but still fun.  I sure wish this was my job, but alas, I’m not so lucky 😦 I spent quite a bit of time compiling information for our guests for our wine country wedding in August.  Here is a quick peek at what our guests received.  I’ve included some PDF links to the actual (some partial for privacy of our guests) documents that I developed.


Outside of invite package

Inside of wedding invite package

Invitation: The ceremony will be held at Kunde Family Estate, and performed by my bestie!  Reception to follow immediately at St. Francis Winery, prepared by Executive Chef David Bush.  Transportation is provided for all guests by limo bus. Wedding Invitations

Wedding Week Itinerary: Itinerary of major events from Monday through Sunday (days most guests will be in town).  This was a tri-fold with a list of guests and their relationship to the bride and groom on the back (I didn’t include this part in the PDF link to protect the innocent 😉 ). Wedding Itinerary

Travel Information: Through Vacation Rental by Owner, we are renting a house in Santa Rosa where our guests will be staying.  All important travel information including flights, car rentals, shuttles, lodging address and amenities, and tips on packing for the trip. Travel Information

Driving Directions: Turn by turn directions from San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport to rental house.

What To Do: A brochure I put together specifically for this group of people.  We have mostly couples coming and one family with two small children.  I compiled a list of popular activities for the adventurer, families and children and the wino (ME!).  Price ranges from free and higher, and include activities such as state parks, Train Town, Charles Shultz (Peanuts creator) Museum, shopping, gardens and day trips.  In this brochure, I’ve also included a list of wineries that we recommend.  Being that there are far too many for anyone to make it to all of them in a single trip (let alone a lifetime), I thought a list of those that we’ve been to and enjoyed with a few highlights might be helpful for the first timers. Sonoma Brochure

Restaurant Recommendations: This list includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night options for guests, ranging in casual to fancy, inexpensive to pricey.  Most are restaurants that I’ve been to.  I used information from my very favorite travel advice site, Trip Advisor, for options close to where we are staying and highly rated by Trip Advisor users. Restaurant Recommendations

Spa Menu: We are planning a spa day while we are out there.  In order to make reservations for everyone before we arrive, I included a menu of the spa services and requested guests let me know what services they’d like, if any. Spa Menu

Save the Date!

Published December 20, 2012 by jenmatteson

We’ve (I’ve) had a busy last few weeks!  I’m sure you haven’t forgotten that I announced our engagement not too long ago, and we’ve set a date!  Sorry, but if you haven’t received yours, that means you aren’t invited 😦  But don’t take it too personally; we are only inviting 13 people to join us for our nuptials in Sonoma, CA.

I just wanted to share our adorable Save the Dates.  We used wine from Kunde, the family estate that the ceremony will be held at in Sonoma.

Save the Date

What are some cute ideas you’ve seen for save the dates?Save the Date

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