Saturday, November 30, 2013

Married One Year

Kyle and I got married a year ago today. Sort of. Our wedding was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, technically making our anniversary November 24. But we decided to celebrate "the Saturday after Thanksgiving" with a party every year instead. Today, we're hosting a big pig roast at the new house.

I can't believe it's been a year already. With a job change and buying a house, this year went by so quickly. But I wanted to take a few minutes to remember our super-fun (and beautiful, if I do say so myself) wedding.

Looking back, even though we definitely threw some money at it in the end, our wedding was pretty frugal. It didn't hurt that nearly all of our vendors were friends, including the photographers, bartender, caterer, officiant, and musicians.

And I thrifted. So hard. For nearly a year, I picked up milk glass, blue mason jars, and vintage linens as I found them. In the month leading up to the wedding, my girlfriends and I spent many hours putting together flatware packets, painting frames, making signs, trimming fabric, and sewing boutineers for the groomsmen. For the favors, Kyle made dill pickles, and I made the tags.

Though we had almost a year to plan, the day seemed to sneak up on us in those last few weeks, but everything came together so beautifully. We were so happy that day, I don’t think anything would have upset us. It was icing on the cake that everything ran smoothly. (I do recommend — even for DIY brides like myself — hiring a day-of coordinator to make sure that everything goes according to your well-laid plans.)

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our wedding day.

Since our first date, Kyle and I have had an ongoing, lighthearted border war in our relationship. I grew up in Missouri, and when I lived in New York and told people I was from Kansas City, I got “Dorothy” often. Eventually, I got the outline of the state of Missouri tattooed on my right forearm.

Kyle comes from the other side of State Line, and has two degrees from the University of Kansas. On our wedding day, he got the state of Kansas tattooed on his left forearm so that ours match up right along the state line.

It’s just coincidence that the barn where we married is on State Line Road (the Missouri side, thank you very much).

We wanted to throw a barn party with a wedding ceremony at the beginning, and we easily agreed upon the venue — a barn in the middle of the city. It wasn’t important for us to do anything the traditional way, including seating, but it was very important to us to have wonderful food, great music, and plentiful booze. We also wanted to be as green as possible, so our save the date and invitation were both postcards. (Having guests RSVP online made it really easy for me to keep track of the guest list.)

Instead of getting one wedding cake, we asked friends to make desserts — whatever they wanted. But we did do the traditional cutting... of an entire pig.

While there were a variety of factors that brought us together, Kyle and I met briefly for the first time on his 29th birthday. I’d written a piece about the then-new band The Grisly Hand for The Pitch (Kansas City’s alt weekly) and he’d seen it. We met briefly at their next show. A few weeks later, he called me up at my office and asked me out. Almost two years after that, he proposed on stage at one of The Grisly Hand's concerts. We had no doubt that we wanted them to play our wedding reception.

Instead of a guestbook, I designed a poster for everyone to sign. It's now framed and hangs in our dining room. People like to look for their names when they come over. After the amount of whiskey that flowed that night, details are hazy for most.

Venue: Alexander Majors Barn, Kansas City, MO / Officiant: The Reverend Ann Kansfield, Greenpoint Church / Ceremony Band: David Burchfield & The Great Stop / Reception Band: The Grisly Hand / Dress: Janay Andrews, Janay A. Handmade / Emily’s Hair: Melissa Van Der Bom, Speak Salon Studio / Drinks: Jenn Tosatto, Hawthorne & Julep / Pig: Bichelmeyer Meats / Sides Catering: Kelli Daniels, Good You / Flowers: Village Flower Company, Arrangement by Sandy Krumm / String Lights: Target / Photography: M & E Photo Studio

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

This Thanksgiving was a small one — at least as far as the crowd was concerned. Kyle and I hosted at our house, and both of our mothers came, and one sister each. (We both have two sisters, but the others had plans. My dad and stepmom were hosting her parents in southern Missouri, and Kyle's dad is in Sioux City, IA, with Kyle's grandmother.)

When it came to the food, though, excess was the theme (for which we were all thankful, of course). We had ordered an 18-pound turkey from our favorite butcher a while ago, just in case we ended up with a full house. And everyone chipped in with sides and desserts. It's safe to say we'll be eating Thanksgiving leftovers for days. In fact, I had pumpkin pie for breakfast today, and I don't feel bad about it.

Here are a few pictures from our Thanksgiving feast.

Kyle is pretty well known among our friends and family for his beer-can chicken, so this year, he got up before 7 am to start smoking a beer-can turkey on the Big Green Egg. Here's a tutorial.

He even stuffed a homemade herb butter under the turkey skin.

On Wednesday, I picked handfuls of sage from the remains of our little community garden plot. What didn't go into the food made a beautiful, fragrant centerpiece.

Every Thanksgiving, I make a sweet potato and goat cheese dish (called Sweet Potato Not Pie in my cookbook, Casserole Crazy). This year, I mixed it up and made whipped sweet potatoes with ginger and coconut, adapted from this recipe. I just used the entire can of coconut cream and increased the amount of ginger. Next time, I'll probably add a little cayenne pepper, too.

In addition to the sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts (with Kyle's homemade bacon), cranberry sauce, and macaroni and cheese with corn dish, I made my rustic stuffing. See the recipe below.

After dinner, and before pie and pumpkin brownies, my sister, Jo, made hand-whipped cream for the first time. Jack watched intently, hoping she'd drop a little on the floor. She didn't, but he managed to help clean a few plates when we weren't looking.

Here’s the recipe for my rustic Thanksgiving stuffing. It’s good any time of year, of course.

1 stick salted butter

3 tablespoons fresh, chopped sage

1 large, white onion, chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

3 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 apples, chopped (with skins)

3 cloves garlic, chopped

16 ounces vegetable broth

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 day-old baguette
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted add one tablespoon of the sage, the onion, celery and the carrot. When the onions become translucent, add the garlic, apples, then salt and pepper generously, very generously. After the apples have cooked for about 2 minutes, pour the vegetable broth into the pan, season with the cayenne and more salt and pepper as needed, and let the mixture sauté for 1 to 2 more minutes.

Tear the bread into approximately 1/2-inch squares and place in a 2-3/4-quart casserole dish. Add the cranberries and remaining sage. Pour the wet mixture over the bread. Mix well and bake uncovered at 350ºF for about 45 minutes to an hour. For best results, stir at least once.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Vintage of the... Month: Small Brown Plates

Sometimes I set goals for myself that are a bit unrealistic. Like, keeping up with a blog in addition to a new house, a new recipe development and food styling business, two weekly columns, and a food blog I edit. Or posting a vintage item to Etsy EVERY DAY.

I know some people are good at sticking to things like that, but not me. I hope I can get better at it, because I think I could make a decent income, but listing vintage items is a lot of work. As I get better and faster with a camera (I got a real one!) and Adobe Lightroom, it will get easier.

I'm also beating myself up about all the great stories I haven't posted here over the last few months. But instead of trying to play catch-up (another way to set myself up for failure), I should just pick back up and do what I can as often as I can.

So, here I am with the Vintage of the Day, which is more like Vintage of the Month. I love these brown plates, and not only because it's rare to find a more masculine dish pattern.

Set of six brown 1970s Cloisonne by Mikasa Brown Stoneware Small Plates, Masculine Brown Leaf Pattern: $55 []