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Self-Catering your own DIY Wedding Reception

I’m sure most newly-engaged women don’t start wondering “Can I prepare my own reception?” before they’ve even picked out a dress, but I did. My dad is an exceptional cook, my (now) husband grew up with parents who owned a restaurant/ran a catering company, and I’ve worked at at least 100 weddings and knew exactly what I did and didn’t like about each of them. Combine that with my persistent DIY spirit and you’ve created a bride intent on self-catering her wedding!

Self-catering is absolutely not the right choice for everyone, but it was the perfect decision for us. I’d never cooked for a crowd before, hadn’t created a single batch of royal icing, or ever even made a tiered cake, so I devoted more time and effort to planning and preparing the food than any other part of our DIY wedding. It wouldn’t have been possible without help from my family the night before and day of the wedding, and I’m immensely grateful for their help. I spotted guests going back for thirds, so I think our reception was a success!

the cake

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a series of posts on advice for self-catering your wedding or other large function, the essential tools that enabled me to prepare a meal for 50 guests, and the resources I used along the way. My advice centers around “three P’s”: planning, practice, and preparation. I hope you stop in to read the new posts and that they help you self-cater your own function.

natasha

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It’s Time to Eat, Drink, and Be Married!

If you’re looking at my blog right now, you’re probably noticing the posts are pretty lean right now. At the time of writing, the last recipe was published on June 24 and I don’t intend to post another one for about three weeks. What’s up with that?

The answer is pretty simple – we’re getting married! The handsome guy in the picture on my sidebar and I are getting hitched, and we’re doing everything ourselves. Yes, we are crazy enough to “self-cater” our wedding. That means there’s lots of cooking going on around here, but not a lot of time for photography and writing! Currently these guys have taken over the kitchen counter:

hibiscus sand dollar cookies

leaf and luau cookies

While an undoubtably large portion of the work lies ahead of us in the week to come, a lot of preparation has been happening over the past few months. I can’t exactly label our efforts a success yet because the reception hasn’t happened, but I’m feeling fairly confident and (currently) not regretting our decision to self-cater. I can’t wait to share my process of planning and preparation with everyone after the wedding and hope I’m able to inspire a few more brides, grooms, and their families that self-catering is feasible. Oh, and there will be more great recipes for folks who aren’t looking to host a reception or large party any time soon. =)

Adios for now!

natasha

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Black Bean Sweet Pepper Salad

We’re getting married in less than a month and I’m trying to figure out what to serve! Yes, I’m crazy enough to be DIYing the reception (with the help of my dad). This black bean and sweet pepper salad has made the short list! Summery, pretty, and even better after it sits overnight, it seems like a winner for our casual outdoor reception. Wether or not it makes an appearance on the Big Day, I have enjoyed it at home and hope you do, too.

Black Bean and Sweet Pepper Salad

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Lavender Scones

We went diving on Memorial Day and then decided to warm up with some coffee and a snack. I got a scone, and Papi Chulo told me he’d never had a scone before. I told him he couldn’t steal my scone because I was hungry, but that I’d be glad to make some soon. I finally had the time to bake scones this Saturday, and I’d recently purchased some culinary lavender, so I had to make these lavender scones. Yum!

Lavender Scone Recipe

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Black Bean Hummus

Papi Chulo started asking if I could make black bean hummus sometime around Thanksgiving. I told him I could and would, but it simply never happened until last Friday. Saturday morning found him snacking on this hummus with pita chips at 9:30, which seemed, to me, a little early for something savory. He enjoyed it, though, so I’m not complaining!

black bean hummus

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Greek Yogurt Lime Popsicles

About two days ago, I was gleefully telling Papi Chulo about Real Lime crystalized lime that I’d just discovered and how I couldn’t wait to use it when he pointed out that I really like lime and put it in everything. I was quick to point out that I’ve never put lime on cereal or in oatmeal, but then admitted that I did have yogurt lime popsicles in the freezer! Maybe I do put lime in a lot of things, but that doesn’t make these tangy treats any less tempting!

Greek Yogurt Lime Popsicles

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I had some truly bad ahi at a restaurant earlier this month. The fish was tough, and even the pineapple mango salsa topping managed to be dry and flavorless. I asked Papi Chulo to taste some and he shrugged, responding that it “Tastes like fish.” Clearly he hadn’t eaten any well prepared fish! This particular bad experience set me on a quest to create pan seared ahi tuna steaks that aren’t dry, flavorless, and chewy. As much as I like a tropical fruit salsa on fish, it’s the most common way to find it in restaurants nearby and I wanted something a little different. As a result, these tuna steaks have a Mediterranean-inspired relish filled with olives, basil, and feta. It’s tasty and a great way to use the fruits of a summer herb garden!

black olive feta ahi

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Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

One of the ‘problems’ with living in Hawaii is that fruit tends to ripen really fast – it’s always at least sort of warm and our place doesn’t have any air-conditioning! I’m normally pretty fond of these facts, but they do tend to leave me with lots of bananas all transforming from green to ripe overnight. There are only so many loaves of banana bread I can stand to bake up, so I decided to take a different approach with some of our recent ripe bananas. The result was these tasty banana oatmeal muffins with just a hint of chocolate chips. They’re not too super sweet, have staying power, and are a great way to use up a couple overly ripe bananas!

Bannana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Pretzel Bark

I have to admit I meant to publish this recipe before Mother’s Day as a sort of ‘last minute gift idea.’ Then time got away from me and now here I am publishing it on Mother’s Day! However, this doesn’t change the fact that this chocolate peanut butter cup pretzel bark is super delicious and would make a great gift, if you can stand to part with it! I really enjoy sweet/salty combinations, and the pretzels in this chocolate bark give it just the right amount of crunch. Plus, the recipe contains a little trick to help you keep chunks of peanut butter cup intact instead of having them melt completely into the mix.

Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Pretzel Bark

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Tasty Tuesdays #59!

I’m happy to be back with another edition of Tasty Tuesdays!

Nibbles and Noshes

Each week our team of 15 amazing bloggers and at least one co-host provides this fabulous party! We’re so glad you stopped by to party with us.

#tastytuesdays8am

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