Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm the newest Babbling Bride blogger!

I am very happy to share the news that I have been chosen to be a bride blogger for one of my favorite wedding inspiration websites, Babbling Bride! They have posted my introduction and my first blog post, which is our engagement story and the history of my ring. I'm excited to be able to share my wedding planning experiences with their blog readers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

In the Cookin' Corner: "Angela's Easy Peanut Butter Cup Pie"

Spring is here! This week I have a no-bake treat to share with you, so no heating up the oven is needed. I have always loved the tasty goodness in a peanut butter cup and I’m a firm believer in the time you can save with using a ready-made pie crust. Even better, this pie is a lighter version. For variety, try changing up the flavor of a ready-made crust from the usual ready-made graham cracker crust to one of the different flavors available at the grocery store now, such as chocolate or vanilla wafer, according to your flavor of pie. I paired this week’s pie with a ready-made chocolate crust and it makes a peanut butter pie filling instantly into the classic candy treat. I hope you enjoy this treat and I send you my wishes for a Happy Spring full of “sweet” memories!

"Angela's Easy Peanut Butter Cup Pie"

1 quart vanilla reduced fat ice cream or frozen yogurt, softened

1 cup light frozen whipped topping, thawed

2/3 cup peanut butter, crunchy or creamy

1 (8 oz.) ready-made chocolate pie crust

Garnish: ¼ cup chocolate syrup

¼ cup peanuts, chopped

In large mixing bowl, combine first three ingredients. Beat with mixer at medium speed until well blended. Spoon into crust. Cover pie and freeze at least 4 hours or until firm. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Garnish, if desired, by drizzling chocolate syrup over pie and sprinkling with chopped peanuts. Yield: 8 slices. Enjoy!

Welcome to those of you blog hopping by this weekend!
Just Married with Coupons


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Cookin' Corner: "Angela's Limeade Pie"

"A light heart lives long." -Irish proverb

Happy St. Patricks Day! Today I'm serving up a slice of Irish inspiration with my recipe for a fun and easy green dessert.

"Angela’s Limeade Pie"

2/3 cup boiling water

1 package lime flavored gelatin mix (sugar free lime gelatin works great)

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup ice cubes

1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed (Cool Whip offers a Sugar Free whipped topping)

¼ cup lime zest (shredded from lime peel is my pick over bottled zest)

1 (8 inch) prepared reduced fat graham cracker crust

Bring water to a boil in saucepan. Pour boiling water into mixing bowl, gradually add in dry gelatin, stirring at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add cold water, then ice to mixture. Stir well. Remove remaining ice from mixture. Gradually stir in whipped topping with wire whisk until smooth. Add in lime zest and stir well. Refrigerate 15 to 20 minutes or until mixture is thick. Spoon filling into crust. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight before serving. Enjoy! 

"May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, May the rains fall soft upon your fields, And, until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of His hand." - Irish blessing  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Tale of Two Rings

I count among my foremost treasures my mother's engagement ring that she passed down to me on my 21st birthday. Ever since that day, it has been a constant on my right ring finger. It is part of a matching wedding set, purchased in 1972 from Meig's Jewelry  here in my hometown of Tahlequah. 25 years later, in 2007, my fiance' was then my boyfriend and he purchased my promise ring from the same jewelry store, keeping a family tradition.

My parent's marriage ended in divorce, twice to be exact, but my mother always treasured her wedding ring set. As I was growing up, my mother raised me as a single parent, having sole custody of me. I was long told the story that when my wedding day came, my mother was giving me her wedding ring to maybe wear on a necklace or do what ever I wanted to with it. After my Grandpa A.D. passed away in 1984 and my parents divorced for the second and final time, my mother and I went to live with Grandma Cleva. We were three generations of women living under the same roof. People would often tell us we needed our own TV comedy sitcom. It was during those years when I was raised by Mom and Grandma that I saw them exemplify through their living the meaning of a strong woman. There were so many so many financial difficulties they faced. This was back before the days of enforcing child support payments, which my father constantly failed to pay. There were so many stumbling blocks they encountered along life's way, but they held our family together with their determination. As I grew into a young woman, the three of us worked as a team to make it, and we did.  

The three of us dreamed together about what my wedding day would be like one day and what a joyous day it would be for all three of us. My mother passed away tragically in 2001, she was 49 and I was 26,  after she had long fought a courageous battle against kidney disease and heart failure complications. My Grandma Cleva, who was second mother to me, would periodically remind me that if something happened to her before I got married, exactly where my mother's ring was located in our house and in which ring box.
Grandma passed away in 2009 at age 82 and heroically battling back against so many illnesses.

As my wedding day has drawn nearer, I have come to a decision about my wedding ring. I have made the decision to take my mother's wedding ring as my own wedding ring. I talked to my fiance' Craig and he told me if the ring needed to be re-sized, he would take it to the jeweler and take care of it. I recalled the long-told story with fondness as I opened the box where the ring was located and took out the ring box.       

I remember as a young girl, my maternal grandmother Grandma Cleva losing her wedding ring. Grandpa A.D., the love of her life, had passed away suddenly of a heart attack after 36 years of marriage. I remember the adults sifting through every inch of the house looking for the ring to no avail.

As I became engaged to the man of my dreams and we began making our wedding plans, the fact that my two foremost heroes in life did not live to be standing here beside me during this time has sometimes cast a sadness into my heart. As I began to open the ring box, that feeling was about to change.  

When I opened it, I discovered there were two rings in the box. I saw my mother's wedding ring and with it, setting on top of it, was another ring. I remembered the ring as soon as I saw it. The last time I had seen it, I was a very young girl marveling at my Grandma Cleva's wedding ring as I felt her loving hand. Grandma had found her wedding ring and she had placed it in the box with my mother's ring, so that when the day came that I opened it to get my mother's ring, I would find hers, as well. I am going to wear Grandma Cleva's wedding ring on my right hand ring finger on my wedding day. As I tried first my mother's ring on my left hand ring finger, and then Grandma Cleva's ring on my right hand ring finger, I saw that both of them fit perfectly, no re-sizing needed. Another special "sign" for me. When I wear them, or even when I just hold the ring box in my hand, I can feel a part of them and I am so thankful for this extraordinary gift.  

I find that the word "happy" really doesn't even begin to describe just how wonderful I feel inside to have been given not just "a" blessing, but a double blessing of having both of these rings. I personally do not care if I recieve any other ring in this lifetime. If I would be given a $1 million dollar wedding ring to wear, I would not trade my choice of making my mother's ring mine for anything. That is the priceless gift andhe testament of two women who gave me an extraordinary amount of love, a love so strong that even though they are no longer here in this life, they gave me enough love in their lifetimes to carry me for the rest of my life.

I chose to set my wedding date June 4, making our wedding day the day before Grandma Cleva and Grandpa A.D.'s June 5 anniversary date. I have made the choice to walk down the aisle by myself, true to my raising by two amazing women. Although they will not physically be there, I know that they will be walking beside me in spirit as I make my way down the church aisle. There will be not one, but two, special rings I will be wearing, each of them representing a strong Southern woman and encompassing the meaning of a true Steel Magnolia, the two greatest role models I could have ever asked for.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Featured on Southern Bride magazine's website!

Craig and I are honored that the fabulous Southern Bride Magazine featured a story about the family history of my engagement ring on their website. Southern Bride has been an invaluable resource during my planning and I am so excited they wanted to do the story. 

Click here for a direct link to our story!

I'm blog-hopping away today!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Secret Sister Revealin' & Blog Hoppin' All Weekend!

Tomorrow I will be attending my church women's group semi-annual Secret Sister Reveal Party. I will be baking my Southern Sensation coconut layer cake for the occasion. If you would like to find out more about this cake, you will find the recipe under the blog post titled, "Angela's Southern Sensation Coconut Cake".I'm also doing some blog hoppin' this weekend with a great group of bloggers. I'm sending all of you a heaping helping of my good wishes for a wonderful weekend!

Just Married with Coupons

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cookin' Corner: "Angela's Peanut Butter Chocolate Delight Cake"

Here's the recipe for my from-scratch peanut butter chocolate layer cake, just as promised! For those of you new to venturing into the kitchen, don't let the term "from-scratch" scare you. Don't be afraid to try your hand at a project of your own in your kitchen. I found this cake to be a fun baking project. I hope y'all come back here soon to visit me and see what The Southern Fried Bride is up to next!

I shared with you the picture of my peanut butter frosting concoction earlier this week, now here's a picture of the finished cake, sliced up and served on one of my cream-colored dessert plates:

This particular recipe I created to be diabetic-friendly for some of my family members. I enjoy eating my diabetic desserts right along with my family members because many of the recipes go along with a healthy living lifestyle that I enjoy incorporating into my daily life.

"Angela's Peanut Butter Chocolate Delight Cake"

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup SPLENDA® Sugar Blend for Baking
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups skim or reduced fat milk

Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat two 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray. Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. In large mixing bowl, beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add SPLENDA® Sugar Blend for Baking to butter and beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla extract; mix until well blended. In medium bowl, combine water and milk. Add 1/2 of dry flour mixture to butter mixture and mix at low speed until well blended. Add water and milk to mixture. Mix at low speed until well blended. Add remaining 1/2 of dry flour mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

"Angela's Peanut Butter Delight Frosting"

1/4 cup skim or reduced fat milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 8 oz. package light cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar for Baking
2 tbs Smart Balance or other healthy margarine
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Place peanut butter and cream cheese in large mixing bowl. Blend with mixer on low speed until fluffy. Gradually add-in Splenda brown sugar, margarine, vanilla, and milk until all ingredients are blended. Increase to medium speed and beat until light and fluffy. If mixture becomes stiff, add additional 1 tablespoon of milk. Spread frosting over cooled cake. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Fat Tuesday and Blog It Forward Tuesday!

I count among some of my favorite memories a trip to New Orleans pre-Hurricane Katrina. I purchased a divine pair of black strappy high heels I treasure to this day right before I fell head over heels for pecan pralines I bought in a French Quarter candy shop. My fiance' Craig was one of the first medical staff to report to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit. He went on to spend the next 6 weeks taking care of patients right up the Gulf Coast in Pass Christian, Mississippi, many days working out of a makeshift medical tent. In the summer of 2009, we traveled to New Orleans together and saw our beloved New Orleans rising from the ashes.

Happy Fat Tuesday!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Monday Y'all and Blog Hoppin' Away!

This Monday finds The Southern Fried Bride putting the finishing touches on my homemade peanut butter layer cake recipe for my newspaper recipe column this week that will hit local newsstands and this here blog at week's end.
I just love the welcome I have received this week from some of the most wonderful bloggers around! Y'all need to mosey on over to my "I Do Declare" blog roll when you have the time and check their blogs out because they are gooder than grits.

Here is a sneak preview of my homemade peanut butter frosting:

Happy Monday!

Just Married with Coupons

Friday, March 4, 2011

Saturday Blog Hop!

Just Married with Coupons

Muskogee Wedding Show winner!

Before we registered for our wedding gifts, one item was at the top of my list: a stand mixer. Avid and fervent with my baking in the kitchen, I love the dependability and thoroughness of this type of mixer.

Wedding shows are a great way to get ideas and inspiration for your wedding and reception. I attended the Muskogee Wedding Show and had a wonderful time meeting area vendors. I won a prize from the Dillard's-Muskogee wedding registry booth and The Southern Fried Bride was elated to win a Cuisinart stand mixer! It just felt surreal as I was leaving Arrowhead Mall with my prize in hand. I am still in awe when I look at this mixer. 

A Jolly Good Prize Package!

This delightful prize package came all the way from jolly old England! The ever-so-wonderful Lou of Whimsical Wonderland Weddings held a holiday contest and I was so happy to be the winner! I love the prizes, especially the fabulous and soft house socks but I am endeared to the pink nail varnish by Barry M and plan on that being my nail color choice for my first bridal shower in April.

"Tote"-ally awesome bridal prizes!

The fabulous Kerrie, proprietor of the amazing  Bridal Gown Blog 
held a fantastic giveaway to begin the new year and I was so excited to be chosen the winner! I received this gorgeous bride tote bag stock full of the most wonderful prizes! I am having a field day enjoying all of them. My favorites are the Joico haircare products, the Sebastian hairsyling products, the bridal hoodie and the OPI manicure and pedicure set.

Angela & Craig: One of Grace Ormonde's "Most Romantic Proposals"!

Craig and I were honored to be chosen by one of my wedding style icons Grace Ormonde and her magazine staff at Wedding Style magazine as one of three winners in their "Most Romantic Proposal" contest. We were among 100 couples who entered their proposal stories and we are so honored to have been chosen. We are featured with the other two winning couples on Grace Ormonde's website and we received her beyond fantastic book "being in love never goes out of style" that she autographed for us. This book takes my breath away and it will have a place of honor on our coffee table in our home. 

Among My Dream Coffee Table Books: Vera Wang on Weddings

I first came to love the fashion stylings of Vera Wang when I was a teenager. When her book "Vera Wang on Weddings" was released, it instantly became one of my dream coffee table books. To celebrate the recent launch of the Vera Wang wedding gown line with David's Bridal, the company held a contest giving away 5 of her books. I was incredibly happy to be one of the winners. I absolutely love this book and it has been such an asset to my wedding planning. I especially love how the elegant covering goes together with the actual book so perfectly to convey the gloriousness of this book, which currently has a place of honor on my coffee table.  

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Our Save the Date

We chose a beach-themed save the date to send to our friends and family to reflect our beach proposal and chose for it to be a magnet. We loved the design of our names written in the sand. We love the job that MagnetStreet Weddings did for us!  
I hand-stamped the back of each of our save the date envelopes with this "I Do" stamp and I combined pink and green ink pads to produce a pink and green marble color effect.

I chose special labels to mark the occasion from Mabel Bean that I loved from the moment I saw them. I especially love the pink and green ring box!  
I hand-addressed each envelope in pink ink.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Angela's Southern Sensation Coconut Cake"

When it came to deciding just which one of my recipes I would share with you first, I looked no further than the coconut cake recipe I created in honor of my maternal grandmother, my biggest cooking and baking inspiration. Ever since I was old enough to watch my Granma Cleva handcraft a coconut cake creation in her kitchen in grand Southern tradition, I was hooked on the tasty, light & fluffy texture of a coconut cake made by her hand. As I grew older, she began teaching me her from-scratch techniques for the ins-and-outs of baking a coconut cake and whipping up the accompanying frosting.

In recent years, I began to come into my own in the kitchen and my coconut cake recipe became her request from year-to-year when I would ask her what kind of birthday cake she wanted. This time of year, which is her birthday month, these “sweet” memories especially come flooding back to me. I’m a firm believer in made from scratch baking. If you try this recipe, I hope you will share it with someone you love, like I had the honor of doing for so many of Granma's birthdays and that tradition continues.
"Angela's Southern Sensation Coconut Cake"

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 stick butter, softened

1 teaspoon coconut extract

4 large egg whites 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray or grease well with butter. Sift cake flour into separate bowl with baking powder; set aside. In mixing bowl, beat softened butter with mixer until light and creamy. Gradually add the 1 1/2 cups sugar, a small amount at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl before each addition. Beat for about 1 minute after each addition. Add coconut extract to mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping sides of the bowl frequently. Slowly add about one-third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape the bowl and repeat with another one-third of the dry mixture. Scrape the bowl and repeat with remaining flour mixture. Spoon batter into baking pans, spreading evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until browned and sides pull away from the sides of the pans. Place on racks to cool. As cake cools, prepare frosting.

"Angela's Southern Sensation Frosting"

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup shortening

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 ½ teaspoons coconut extract

¼ cup shredded coconut

In mixing bowl, add first four ingredients. Beat with mixer 1 minute. Add coconut to mixture. Beat with mixer 4 minutes. Frost cooled cake. Use reserved ½ cup of coconut to coat top and sides of frosted cake. Enjoy!

Me and my precious Granma Cleva 1927-2009

Selecting the Reception Venue

I have been dreaming of and planning my wedding day for a long time. Tahlequah is home to me and it has been my home my entire life. No matter where life will end up taking Craig and I when we are husband and wife, I have a fundamental truth that Tahlequah is home and I am very happy that my fiance’ Craig loves Tahlequah as much as I do. We made the decision together that we would marry here in my hometown.
Ever since I was a little girl dreaming about my wedding day, I have dreamed about having my wedding reception at the Northeastern State University Ballroom, here in my hometown of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. It is the school that would become my alma mater. NSU is endeared to my heart for so many reasons and one of my foremost reasons is that my beloved maternal grandparents, Grandpa A.D. and Grandma Cleva would take me on walks across the campus as a little girl with me not knowing at the time of their shared dream for me to one day be able to attend college there and become a first generation college graduate in our immediate family. Those sunlit days are now lovingly imprinted in my mind.  With their help, I would accomplish that dream and beyond, and accomplish it debt-free, earning  scholarships and a graduate fellowship for my master’s degree. Grandpa A.D. didn’t live to see that dream become a reality, but Grandma Cleva did, and I am so thankful.    
 There’s also a fundamental truth living in Tahlequah that outside of the University’s Ballroom, finding a wedding reception location in Tahlequah to comfortably accommodate the number of people we anticipate to attend our June wedding is a difficult task.        
When Craig and I chose June 4 as our wedding date, I contacted the University Center and inquired about renting the Ballroom that day for our wedding reception.  The Ballroom was booked…I was so disappointed, so let down. I began the task of trying to find another venue in Tahlequah that could accommodate our reception and nothing I looked into was a good fit for us. Each of the venues just wasn’t us.  
Then I received notification from the amazing Karen Ross that the ballroom rental for June 4, 2011 had been cancelled and was now open and available to reserve for that day. I could not believe it I was going to have the chance to fill out the paperwork to reserve it on that date. It felt so amazing to be given even the possibility. I then went to Catering Services and talked with the fabulous Melissa Reeves who helped get me started with their amazing menu choices to look at. I awaited official word we would be given that reserved date for the Ballroom.
That official word came. The day I found out the news, there was something important I had to do before leaving campus. I walked across the campus…this time alone in body but with several loved ones walking beside me in spirit. I walked all over the campus we walked on so many times together in my childhood. Then the campus I walked on as first an undergrad, a proud Delta Zeta collegian, and then as a grad student. I walked there today as a proud alumni and an ecstatic bride-to-be.   
Following our late afternoon wedding at Northside Baptist Church, we will then proceed down the hill to our wedding reception in the NSU Ballroom. We will have a dinner and dancing evening celebration.        
Words alone cannot express my thanks and appreciation to NSU University Center employees Karen Ross and Melissa Reeves who have gone out of their way to make this such a special experience for me. To the love of my life, my fiance’ Craig and his amazing parents who I cannot wait to be my in-laws: Warren and Sharon, who are making all this happen for me by telling me they want to give me the wedding and reception of my dreams.   

Selecting the Ceremony Venue

When it came to selecting the venue where our wedding ceremony will take place, we both knew it was going to be at the place endeared to both mine and Craig's hearts. It is the place where Craig and I first met. We met at my home church, the church that I have attended my entire life. The first time we met, we had a true "Tony and Maria" moment from "West Side Story". One of my favorite scenes in the movie when Tony and Maria, with Maria being played in the movie by one of my icons Natalie Wood, first see each other across the room and everyone else in the room just blurs away and they bopth only see each other. We are keeping with a Southern tradition of marrying in the church my family has attended for three generations. It is the church where my maternal grandparents began their married lives together in 1948. It is the church where my parents were married in 1972 and my baby shower was held in 1974. Our wedding will be Saturday, June 4, 2011 at Northside Baptist Church. 

Setting The Date: A Special Meaning

My longtime dream has been to have a June wedding. I love it that my maternal grandmother Grandma Cleva was a June bride,  marrying the love of her life, my Grandpa A.D. on June 5, 1948. That has made the month of June even more endeared to me. Craig ended up proposing to me in July and at first the thought of waiting nearly a year to marry him seemed almost unbearable, so we began looking at dates in April.

I never forgot my dream to be a June bride (and a special song that goes with that distinction). It became clear as time drew closer for us to meet with our minister who will perform the ceremony, Pastor Jay, about setting our wedding date, that I wanted to stay true to my wish to be a June bride. Next came selecting the day. I love Saturday weddings, so that was a given. Granma and Granpa’s wedding date of June 5, so endeared to me, falls on a Sunday, making the day before their anniversary June 4, on a Saturday. With that distinction in mind, Craig and I choose Saturday, June 4, 2011 as our wedding date. The fact that our wedding date will be right next to theirs is so special to us both.            

My "I Do Declare" Blog Roll

I just couldn't opt for a run-of-the-mill blog roll. I had to infuse my personality and love of all things Southern into mine and I am pleased as peach pie to share with you the blogs I name to my "I Do Declare" blog roll. Each of the blogs has The Southern Fried Bride's official seal of approval. I have begun selecting some of my favorite wedding vendors and inspirations as well as some of my favorite fashion and lifestyle blogs to be named to my "I Do Declare" blog roll. I look forward to sharing about many of them with you as I continue on my journey to the altar and married life.