Archives for July 2008

DIY Appetizer: Maple-Pepper Salmon Bites

With the Great American Seafood Cook Off just a few days away, I thought I would share one of my favorite do-it-yourself appetizer recipes – Maple Pepper Salmon bites. I’ve brought these easy yummy bites to many family gatherings and they’ve always been a huge hit! I think they’d be a perfect starter for a wedding (or even a contender in the cook off!). You would just need to multiply the recipe to serve the amount of people you plan to feed. The recipe below serves 6.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup Soy Sauce
  • 24 ounces of skinned salmon fillet
  • 1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
  • vegetable or canola oil
  • toothpicks for serving

Let’s get cooking!

  1. First, take your salmon and cut it into bite sized pieces.
  2. Combine maple syrup and soy sauce in a medium sized bowl to create the marinade. Add salmon pieces, making sure the fish is fully immersed in the marinade.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  4. After fish has marinated 24 hours, preheat the oven to 500 degrees fahrenheit and spray a sheet of aluminum foil with your vegetable oil.
  5. Put the freshly ground pepper in a small plate or bowl. Gently dip the salmon bites in the pepper and place them on your greased foil.
  6. Cook in over 3-4 minutes. Watch them carefully when baking as to not overcook!
  7. They are now ready to serve! Stick each bite with a toothpick and you’re ready to go.

Tips and Suggestions:
-Marinating the salmon pieces in a zip-loc bag works fantastic.
-Sometimes, adding a little bit of fresh ginger to the marinade can add contrast to the flavor, a mix of salty and sweet!
-If you are concerned about burning the salmon, some cooks have made these bites on baking paper instead of foil very successfully.

I think you’ll really enjoy this delicious take on salmon appetizers, and your guests will too! If you try this recipe please comment or send an e-mail with pictures of your yummy bites. We’d love to hear your suggestions for revising the recipe to make these bites uniquely yours, or any yummy seafood recipes you enjoy making and think would be great to pass on!

You may even get ideas to suggest while watching the Great American Seafood Cook off! I’m excited to see what delicious recipes the chefs will offer! There are always such unique dishes from all over the states..I wonder what the 14 chefs will come up with this year! A great thing about the dishes at the cook off is the freshness and sustainability of the ingredients. It is so important to make sure the seafood we are eating is being caught fresh locally, and the source of the fish is known. Doing this ensures good health and protection of the environment..So there is always fresh healthy seafood to go around! Plus, it just tastes better! Freshly caught Alaskan Salmon is so much better than worldwide farmed salmon any day. Every delectable creation whipped up at the cook off follows these guidelines. Yum..I can’t wait!

Now go get cooking! I’m getting hungry just typing this recipe 😛

DIY Project: Flower Girl Fairy or Butterfly Wings

fairy wings for flowergirl
credit: Rebecca Margaret on flickr.com

To beautifully accompany the previous post’s craft – a flower girl ribbon streamer, I thought following up with how to make some whimsical handmade fairy wings for your flower girl would be perfect! These do it yourself wings are very easy to make and are very customizable. They can be painted in any way you like, made any size you wish and can be shaped any way your heart desires. They can be made as simple or as detailed as you see fit for your big day.

To begin, you will need…

  • 14-18 gauge steel wire (easy to bend, but not so easy that it will lose shape!)
  • Wire Cutters
  • Duct Tape
  • Pantyhose, Colored tights or sheer material (sheer material will probably require sewing though!)
  • Clear Elastic
  • Sewing Materials – Needle and thread
  • Black or Colored Tape (optional, for wrapping wire)
  • Things for decorating! For wing color, fabric paints or halloween colored hairspray work great! Additional decorative details may include ribbons, gems and more..use your imagination!

To create your wings..

  1. You will start off with shaping your wings. You can make them in the shape of anything you wish! Some ideas may be butterfly wings or dragonfly wings. There are some sites online that are great for ideas and inspiration. Search fairy wings or flower fairy on any search engine I’m sure you’ll find some great ones. If you decide you want to wrap the wire with black or colored tape, do so now, before shaping. Next, shape your wings! Bend the wire in any way you see fit. You can make large loops of wire and then attach them with duct tape or you can twist the wire between loops (sort of like twisting a figure eight). The amount of loops and where connections are will depend on what style wing you choose to create. It’s all pretty straight forward though! Just follow the image you liked for inspiration and do your best to shape that with your wire. For example, if you are doing a butterfly with only one large wing on each side you will need 2 large shaped loops either attached with duct tape or twisted in center of the back. If you are doing a more elaborate style like a dragonfly, you will probably end up making four large loops. Let your creative mind be your guide!
  2. Once you have shaped your wings and closed/attached the loops with duct tape you will be ready to cover your wings. If you are using pantyhose or tights, cut a leg off and carefully stretch it over your first shaped loop. Pull taut and either knot tightly or sew the fabric securely to the wire structure. If you are using sheer fabric you will need to trim the fabric in the shape of the wing or loop, leaving 1/4″ excess fabric around the edge. Then simply wrap the material over the wire and hand stitch the fabric onto the structure. If you wish, you can now sew fabric over the center/spine area to hide any wire and make the wings more uniform visually.
  3. Next, add some straps for wearing! You will need 2 feet of clear elastic, one foot for each side. Sew each end to the center/spine area of the wings (If you are being creative with your wings and they are oddly shaped, eyeball it! You may want the straps higher or lower..depending on what shape you are using.) If you used pantyhose or tights ad knotted the fabric in the center, you can sew the elastic straps to the knots.
  4. Lastly, decorate your wings! If you are painting your wings, use the fabric paint or halloween hairspray to color your wings as you see fit. Then, glue and adorn your wings with any gems, ribbons and doodads you wish to make your handmade wings unique and customized.

That’s it! Just following these 4 easy steps you can create beautiful whimsy wings for the flower girl(s) in your wedding. They are an adorable addition to your wedding day, allowing you to customize your flower girl attire more to fit your theme or color scheme.

Be sure to send any pictures our way if you create some wings for your flower girls. We want to see! 🙂


credit: bob fox photographer on flickr.com

cute angel flower girl with fairy butterfly wings
credit: nidaIM on flickr.com

green butterfly fairy wings for flowergirl in wedding
credit: Tosawyer on flickr.com

DIY Project: Flower Girl Ribbon Wand Streamers

Ribbon wands (or ribbon streamers) are an adorable flower girl accessory for any wedding. They are extremely affordable to make, beautifully customizable, and do not require much work or effort on your part! Plus, your flower girls will -love- them! They will entertain themselves swirling and twirling their little ribbon fairy wands about..making great photo opportunities! They are however only recommended for flower girls ages 5 and up! Best to be safe than sorry.

Materials You’ll Need…

  • Ribbon in your desired length, Silk & lame work nicely! Take the size of your flower girl into mind – 6 foot ribbons look absolutely beautiful and are ideal, but if your flower girl is tiny, this may be way too long. Shorten as necessary! 3-4 feet of ribbon works well for a smaller child. Ribbon width is just a matter of preference, 1.5″ seems to be a general size though.
  • Wooden Dowel Rod (for handle)
  • Hammer
  • Snap Swivel Hardware (this is actually fishing gear, check the sports/fishing area of your local Walmart, target or Dick’s to name a few! Click here for an example of what they look like)
  • Small Flathead Nail (NOT finishing nail!)
  • Sandpaper
  • Optional: Paint, Charms for Embellishing

The steps to creating your wands are pretty simple! Here we go!

  1. Gently sand your craft dowel until smooth. You don’t want your little flower cutie to get any splinters! If you plan on painting your dowel to further customize the wand to your wedding theme..do so here! Acrylic paints are extremely cheap (around $1.00 or less) and come in a large variety of colors..so they would work wonderfully! If you do decide to paint the dowel, allow proper time to dry before continuing on to the next step.
  2. Next, get your hammer, small flathead nail and swivel snap. Nail the swivel snap to the top of your dowel rod. (You are nailing the smaller circular end to the rod. The larger snap area is where your ribbon will be threaded!) Make sure you nail directly in the center of the dowel rod to ensure fluid ribbon movement, and that the nail is very secure.
  3. Finally, thread your pre-measured/precut ribbon through the larger snap circle of the swivel snap and make a secure knot. Trim the ribbon as you see fit visually. If you like, you can add another ribbon in the same fashion, in another color. For instance if your wedding colors are black and pink..a black and pink ribbon wand could look adorable! You may, however, want to shorten the ribbons a bit to make up for the additional ribbon weight (for easy whirling and twirling!). If you’d rather stick to one ribbon, but still want to incorporate two wedding colors, have one color for the ribbon and paint the wooden dowel in the second color! It’s all up to you!
  4. Lastly, if you should decide to further embellish your wand to match your wedding, you can do so here! Jewelry charms attach very easily to the swivel snap hardware you tied the ribbon to! Snowflake charms, butterfly charms..even seashell charms would add an additional adorable detail to the ribbon streamer.

Please Note: If the use of a hammer, nail and swivel snap hardware sound like to much for you, you can bypass that and just glue one end of the ribbon to the tip of your wooden dowel rod with a very strong super glue. This will, however, not look as finished and is much more likely to fall apart than if you did it the way above! Just a warning/tip!

That’s it! It’s an extremely easy DIY craft for your big day, and your flower girls will love their whimsical accessory! Please be sure to send pictures our way if you make your own custom flower girl ribbon wands using our instructions..we would -love- to see them!

DIY Project: Cherry Blossom Centerpieces

Cherry blossoms are a beautiful sign of spring across the US. The problem with cherry blossoms is that’s the only time you can briefly enjoy their beauty! This makes it hard for anyone who wants them for their wedding in say..December. I found a solution to that problem with do-it-yourself blooming cherry blossom branches that would be absolutely perfect for centerpieces and decor! These flowering branches are also extremely affordable, since they consist of branches cut from your yard (or a friends!) and some vellum paper. What’s also neat is you can put your own twist on the blossoms, possibly coordinating the colors from the usual pink and white to colors of your wedding! Whether you want to create traditional blossoming branches, or change it up a bit with unique colored blooms..here are the instructions!

All you’ll need are..

  • Branches to attach blooms to
  • Vellum Paper in Color(s) of your choice (tissue paper works too if you cannot find vellum, it will just be more fragile!)
  • Scissors
  • Utility/Craft Knife
  • Glue

Next is to create the blooms!

  1. Start by cutting your vellum paper into 3.5 inch and 4.5 inch squares.
  2. Each square is folded into a flat cone, following the image below.
  3. Use scissors to make four angled cuts to remove the top of the cone.
  4. With your utility/craft knife, carve out a small rectangular sliver on each side of the cone(s). Snip off a tiny bit of the pointed tip of the cone, and unfold and shape the paper to create a blossom.
  5. Take your branches and gently poke blossoms onto the branch tips. You can add a little bit of glue to each blossom to make the blooms a bit more secure on the branch.
  6. That’s it! Now all you need to do is find a pretty vase or container and anchor the branch(es) inside it with pebbles, crystals or stones.

Whether you use these branches on every table for a centerpiece, or here and there around your ceremony/reception venue..your guests will be impressed by their beauty. They’ll be even more impressed to know you created them yourself!!

Also, if you love the look of the blossoms, but don’t want to attach them to branches, there are a couple other ways you can incorporate them into your big day. I thought it could look really beautiful to gently thread your blooms through colored ribbons or string and hang them from the ceiling. It would be like the gorgeous raining orchids seen in a lot of celeb weddings..only with your adorable (gorgeous!) handmade cherry blossoms. Another idea would be using the blossoms to decorate your favors! Using a hole punch, punch a hole in one folded corner of the blossom, insert a brad and thread with string or ribbon. Attach to your favor bag, tin..basket..whatever you like! Lastly, and probably most simply..scatter your little blossoms around tables for an additional wedding decor detail guests will love.

As always, if you create a DIY masterpiece with these instructions..we wanna see pics! Make sure you send them in to us 🙂

Credit: Martha Stewart Living, MarthaStewart.com


chrisilstrup – flickr


thefeltmouse – flickr


threefishsleeping – flickr

DIY Video: Cake Decorating Tools of the Trade

After posting a delicious wedding cake and frosting recipe in the last post, I thought it would be a great idea to follow up with a fantastic video on cake decorating tools I found on YouTube by Expert Village. If you are making your own cake or cupcakes, learning the basic cake decorating techniques and the tools needed are a must!

This great video explains the basic starter tools you’ll need to start you on your way to creating beautiful cakes. The woman in the video goes over basic starter tips for frosting such as leaf tips and star tips, and other basic tools. If you are just starting in the world of decorating, it’s a great video to watch to learn about some of the tools that would help you along the way.

YouTube Preview Image

If you decide you want to purchase some of these basic tools, most can be found at your local craft store such as Joanns, Michaels or AC Moore. Wilton is a great supplier of all things cake decorating..and is one of my personal favorites. I actually just recently purchased an entire fondant (to be explained in a later blog!) decorating set from AC Moore this week brand new for only $5 dollars (regularly $25)! Apparently they are getting rid of older Wilton products to make room for some of the newer sets..so I walked away with a steal! Check out your local store, maybe you’ll get a steal too 😀