Ashley’s Creative Catering Real Event | Kentucky Derby Themed Bunco Party | New Hope, AL

Once upon a time, when Ashley’s Creative Catering was just a brand new baby business, I met this lady that I lovingly refer to as my “Catering Angel.” She is one of those clients that comes into your life by chance and instantly there is a bond formed. The kind of bond that would last forever even if she never, ever needed my catering services again. We were just destined to be friends.

Janet has a group of girlfriends that get together occasionally to play a few rounds of bunco and just enjoy being together. This past May was Janet’s turn to host and she decided she wanted to go with a Kentucky Derby theme. What I love most about a themed event is the opportunity to just go crazy with details! Janet is the QUEEN of details and I love that she shares my love for creating a super fun experience for her guests.

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The weather was absolutely perfect on the afternoon of the event, so we took the party to the front yard. Guests arrived to find vintage farm tables adorned with mismatched china and “Rose,” the most perfect Derby dress and hat made from various shades of pink flowers.

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Upon arrival, the guests were greeted with Butler Passed Hors d’oeuvres with a Derby flair and were escorted to the vintage buffet server that housed all the makings of a classic Mint Julep. After much mingling and laughter, they ladies were invited to find their seat at the dinner table, which was appropriately marked with a chalk painted horse that had been hand inscribed with each of their names.

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With the sun sinking low, our bistro style lighting began to illuminate the table as a family style dinner was served to the guests. They enjoyed a menu that started with a classic Waldorf Salad. Then we brought out the main course that consisted of Maple-Bourbon Glazed Turkey Breast, Shrimp and Grits, Brûléed Corn Pudding, and Roasted Asparagus.

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During dinner, the Julep Bar was transformed into the most delightful dessert and coffee station for the guests to enjoy as they played their games of bunco. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect evening to celebrate in Derby style!

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The depths of my gratitude for Janet’s support of Ashley’s Creative Catering and her friendship could never, ever be conveyed in words. At the risk of writing a novel, I’ll just simply say “thank you,” but please know that your friendship fills my heart with joy! I appreciate you more than you know, Catering Angel. Thank you for letting me create another amazing event for you!

Catering and Event Design: Ashley’s Creative Catering
Lighting: Metropolitan Disk Jockey
Invitations, Stationary, Hand-Written Chalk Art: Salt + Paperie
Vintage Rentals: Vintage on Macon
Florals: Sacred Stone

Cookie Bouquets: Hamley Bake Shoppe

Hand Stamped Serving Utensils: Sycamore Hill 

Think Pink | A Celebration of Life| Vow ReNEWal Photo Shoot

Every once in a while, we vendors get a wild idea to organize a styled photo shoot that is usually for the purpose of showing off our talents and having fun. This time, however, Jackie from Vintage on Macon (and a host of other vendors) organized the most amazing photo shoot with a very special story.

I have been waiting to share this photo shoot with you guys for a while now, but felt like October would be the perfect time to do so. Why October, you ask? Well, that’s because beautiful Kasi is a breast cancer survivor and October is breast cancer awareness month. What a perfect time to celebrate a story of survival. Her story is one that will bring you to tears and make you rejoice all at the same time. She and her husband Jamey share a love story that is worth celebrating and a vow renewal photo shoot was the perfect way to do so.

What you’re about to see is a labor of love and a work of heart from some of Huntsville’s most amazing wedding vendors, but it is so much more than that. It is a celebration of life, love and miracles. It is a celebration of overcoming the grief and pain that cancer leaves behind and coming through that journey with a stronger, deeper, more passionate love. It’s a celebration of a love that lived up to its “in sickness and in health” promise. Most importantly it’s a celebration of a family, who despite the unfair hand they were dealt, have emerged from trials still united.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you A Celebration of Life: A Vow ReNEWal Photo Shoot:

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Christina from The Transformation working her transforming magic on Kasi and Jamey

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Stunning Kasi in a one-of-a-kind, show stopping dress from White Dresses

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Handsome Jamey is rocking his pink attire!

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Kasi and her mom, a fellow breast cancer survivor herself, take a minute to honor the memory their late sister and daughter

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Beautiful florals from Soul Flowers and Styling from Vintage on Macon

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Donny’s Diamond Gallery made Kasi feel like a princess with all of this beautiful jewelry. And how about those shoes and bow tie that I’m pretty sure were hand glittered by the gals at Sweet Roots Photography?! I LOVE them!

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Shaken Not Stirred Salad-Tini with a Martini Curtain

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Pickle Bar featuring homemade Bread and Butter Pickles, Sriracha Pickled Swiss Chard, Pickled Asparagus, Pickled Tomatoes, and Taco Pickles with Carrots and Radish

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Teriyaki Glazed Salmon over Purple Cauliflower Mash and topped with Tangy Slaw and Sriracha Cream Sauce

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Cake by Slice At A Time and Mini Desserts by Hamley Bake Shoppe

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Tea Bar by Piper and Leaf

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Love like this needs no explanation!

Contributing Vendors:

Event Planning and Styling: Vintage on Macon
Photography: Sweet Roots Photography
Wedding Dress: White Dresses
Jewelry: Donny’s Diamond Gallery
Hair and Makeup: The Transformation
Flowers: Soul Flowers
Cake: Slice At A Time
Mini Desserts: Hamley Bake Shoppe
Tea Bar: Paper and Leaf
Catering: Ashley’s Creative Catering

Sweet Home Alabama | Styled Photoshoot | Southern Bride Magazine Feature

Way, way back in February, Southern Bride Magazine put a call out for a styled photo shoot that paid tribute to your home state. What started out as a text message conversation between vendor friends turned into this absolutely incredible experience allowing some of the most talented vendors in all of Alabama to create our own version of Sweet Home Alabama. The end result was this amazing Blackberry Brunch that ultimately made its way to Southern Bride Magazine.

There are a million things I could tell you about this photo shoot and how it all came together, but I think Katie with Wedding Belles Events said it best…

To us, Alabama is all about southern hospitality. It means pulling up an extra chair at dinner because “you know you’re welcome to stay.” It’s watching the game with old friends, eating momma’s famous blackberry pie, and long talks on the front porch with Grandpa. It’s about feeling right at home, even when you’re somewhere else. That southern charm is what keeps us here, loving and being proud to say we’re from Alabama. So, we invite you to come home with us….where the front door’s always open. Welcome to our sweet home, Alabama.

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Beautiful floral arrangements provided by Simpson’s Florist featuring the Alabama state fruit, the blackberry

Make Up and Hair by The Transformation

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Stationary and paper goods designed by Salt+Paperie

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Bellini Bar and Vintage Rentals by Vintage on Macon

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Naked Cake and Mini Pies by Just Crumbs

When designing a menu for something like this, your brain can go a little crazy, but I knew that I wanted parts of the menu to salute the many farmers in Alabama that work so hard to provide us with quality, locally grown produce. Because of that, we decided that an omelet bar featuring some local eggs and produce was the way to go.

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In addition to paying tribute to our farmers, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to nod at all the grandmothers, mommas and aunts out there that have perfected the good ole Southern biscuit topped with homemade jams and jellies. It occurred to me that using a vintage baking station from Vintage on Macon would be the perfect piece for displaying what to some is just a yummy Southern treat, but to me is a memory of Sunday mornings in the kitchen with Grandmother.

That’s the thing that is so beautiful about growing up in the South, the fact that one bite of a specific treat can evoke a stroll down memory lane that can make you laugh and cry at the same time. That is way I chose to feature our Hog Wild Ham and Biscuit Bar.

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Last, but not least, I wanted to have a little fun with some mini sweet breakfast treats. We went with Mini Pancakes topped with Lemon Curd, Fresh Berries and Mint served on a handmade Alabama shaped board made by a sweet man, Mr. Howard, that I’ve gone to church with for years. We also went with Berries and Yogurt Parfaits and Mini Cinnamon Roll Lollipops.

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All of this awesomess was absolutely a team effort and I couldn’t think of a better team for pulling this off. All of these people possess a talent like none other and hearts of gold the size of…Alabama? 😉 Hahah! I’m so thankful to call you all friends and so grateful to work alongside you all.

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As I said before, the ultimate goal was to submit this beautifully planned and executed event to Southern Bride Magazine in hopes that it would be featured in their Summer/Fall 2014 issue. Turns out they loved it as much as we did!

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We were so excited when the issue finally came out that we couldn’t wait to get our hands on a copy. If you follow my Facebook or Instagram accounts, you’ve already read all about it, but I feel like sometimes things are worth repeating. The following is a post I made on my social media accounts the night I picked up my first copies of the issue featuring our Sweet Home Alabama shoot and then realized my company had been featured in the same magazine more than once!

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“There have been a few times on this journey of starting and running my own catering company that I have had to just stop and take a minute to pinch myself. Tonight is one of those nights. There is something so surreal and humbling about seeing the fruits of your labor in print. Even more surreal is that moment when you realize that your food has appeared in THREE different places in the same magazine.

If someone were to ask me about my “ultimate goal” for my company I think you would be shocked to find that it actually has nothing to do with being the best chef or caterer. It actually has nothing to do with food at all. It has more to do with encouraging and inspiring others to find their “pinch me” moment. So if you have a dream, go do it! Set goals and sprint toward them! Surround yourself with those that support you and encourage you to be the best version of yourself and when you achieve those goals, don’t forget where you came from.

Here’s hoping that I never forget to count my blessing and praise through my trials because we’ve come a long way, baby!” -Ashley Smith, June 2014

Photography: Erin Lindsey Images
Coordinating/Design: Wedding Belles Events
Graphic design/paper goods: Salt and Paperie 
Food: Ashley’s Creative Catering
Cake/Desserts:Just Crumbs
Makeup/Hair: The Transformation
Floral Design: Simpsons Florist
Rentals, Bellini Bar, Styling/Design: Vintage on Macon
Videography: Woodnote Media
Bridal Gown: Modern Brides
Bridesmaid Dresses: Altar’d State
Location: Home of  Allen and Debbie Tidwell
Models: Sawsan Williams, Cassie Clark, Chelsey Moore

Ashley’s Creative Catering Real Wedding: Slaten-Biehn | Decatur, AL | Princess Theatre

Maegan and Alex have been long time sweethearts and have always had special ties to The Princess Theatre. It seemed only natural to celebrate their nuptials at the beloved theatre back in July. From the first time I had contact with Maegan, I knew I wanted to be part of her wedding day but then she said the words “vintage glam” and I was in LOVE!

From the moment their guests stepped onto the sidewalk in front of The Princess Theatre, they were given the VIP treatment. With the marquee sign displaying well wishes to the happy couple, their guests walked the red carpet past movie posters of the happy couple back in time to a party fit for the most lavish of Old Hollywood stars.

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(iPhone Photos)

As the guests entered the theatre they were welcomed with a sweet and salty treat at the popcorn bar designed by Maegan and Alex.

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Their guests were invited to grab a treat and take a seat in the theatre’s auditorium for the premier of “Love Story,” a video slide show of photographs documenting their years together and their proposal story at Bryant Denny Stadium. Um, how cool is that? Short story: Alex surprised Maegan with the most perfect proposal ever on the 50 yard line of Bryant Denny under a twinkle of bistro lights with the help of their late friend Reba. You can read all about it here. It’s pretty perfect. 😉

While the newlyweds were finishing up their photographs, their guests were happily snacking on some popcorn and sipping their bottled Cokes while watching the video. Soon, the video would change from the slide show to a black and white video of the streets traveled between the church where the wedding took place and The Princess Theatre. All at once the screen is lifted and suddenly Maegan and Alex are making their first entrance into their reception onto the stage of The Princess in Alex’s beloved VW Beetle that has been in his family for generations.

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(“Borrowed” Photos from Maegan’s Facebook)

Like any dapper gentleman would do, Alex opens the car door for Maegan and extends a hand to assist his bride in getting out of the car. With their guests cheering, the DJ cues Frank Sinatra’s “It Started All Over Again” and the beautiful couple began their first dance as husband and wife. I’m sure they are both naturally beautiful dancers, but with the help of choreography and lessons from Elegant Dance Company, their first dance was flawless perfection.

All of this just for the cocktail hour? You know the guests are in for a treat when we move into the next portion of the reception! The details that went into this reception are just awesome. Join me on a little stroll around the room, will you?

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A vintage typewriter requesting happy thoughts, well wishes, and advise for Maegan and Alex was displayed alongside their proposal story that was featured in The Decatur Daily.

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A cigar bar for the gentlemen was set up on the patio just outside of the reception. This area was quite the gathering spot towards the end of the evening.

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And what show would be complete without a little costume, right? This area was set up to display the wedding gowns and wedding photographs of both Maegan and Alex’s parents and grandparents weddings. Such a beautiful way to honor them that just so happen to fit in with the theme of their event. It was perfect.

Finally, guests were invited to join the bridal party in beginning the buffet line which was served on the mezzanine level of the theatre. Guest enjoyed a “Shaken Not Stirred Salad-Tini” where “bartenders” would shake the guest’s salad in their dressing of choice and pour it over into a martini glass. It was such a fun way to jazz up a salad bar. Maegan and Alex also chose to feature our ever popular Marinated Pork Tenderloin alongside a griddle of Roasted Vegetables with Lemon-Basil Aioli dipping sauce. Last, but not least, their guests had a blast with out Shrimp and Grits and Mashed Potato Bar.

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With their guests seated at tables styled by the ever talented ladies at Vintage on Macon, Maegan and Alex took a minute to sit down and enjoy their dinner.

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(“Borrowed” from Maegan’s Facebook again)

As the evening went on, it was time to cut the beautiful cakes provided by Nana’s Bakery in Hartselle.

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After cake, the guests were invited back into the auditorium to dance the night away on the stage of the theatre. It was then that we decided to pull out one last surprise for Maegan and Alex. Pretty early on in the planning process, Maegan has mentioned wanting to do a late night milk and cookie bar, but it ended up getting cut from the menu. We decided instead of an entire bar of milk and cookies, we would surprise the couple with a few platters of milk shooters with our famous “pity cookies” that were passed around the dance floor at the end of the night. It was the perfect little treat to end the most perfect evening.

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Maegan and Alex, I don’t even know where to begin in saying “thank you” and “I love you” to you guys! You guys are truly amazing and the love you have for one another is so special. I cannot thank you enough for inviting us to share your special day with you. I look forward to following your love story for many years to come. May God bless you both in your life together as you continue to bless those around you with your beautiful love story.

Venue: Princess Theatre 

Event Coordinator: Kathleen Bernal Events

Event Styling and Vintage Rentals: Vintage on Macon

DJ and Lighting: Metropolitan Disc Jockey

Cakes: Nana’s Bakery 

Linens and Rentals: Mullins Special Occasions

Photography: Spindle Photography

(Whose professional photos are a million times better than my amateur photos shown in this post)

Videography: Holloway Productions

Ashley’s Creative Catering Real Wedding: Bobo-Simmons | Huntsville, AL | Huntsville Museum of Art

The first time I met with Heidi and her mom they said, “We’re pretty easy clients. We know what we like, we make decisions and we stick to them.” As the wedding day approached, I emailed Heidi’s mom to tell her that calling them “easy clients” would be the understatement of the year. While they were in fact every caterers dream client for so many reasons, what I will remember most about working with them is how incredibly grateful they were to all of their wedding vendors. Helping make a bride’s day special for her and her family is all I’ve ever wanted to do, and it is even more enjoyable when you just “click” with people who you know you will remember for years to come.

Heidi picked some of my favorite menu items to share with her guests and they loved them.

We started with a beautiful fruit display with a hand carved monogrammed watermelon as the centerpiece.

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Next, the guests enjoyed our whiskey barrel table the featured all cold hors d’oeuvre. It was also home to our infused olive oils and flavored balsamic vinegar that was served with torn bread pieces for dipping.

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From the whiskey barrel table, guests moved on to the main buffet that hosted the bulk of the items that Heidi chose for her menu. As always, our Sweet and Spicy Chicken Bacon Bites were the star of the show.

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Last stop in the dinner line was at the Taco Station Heidi chose for her guests to enjoy. With the help of an Ashley’s Creative Catering team member, guests could make their own tacos and add a variety of toppings. It was a huge hit!

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And what wedding would be complete without an incredible wedding cake? As you can tell, Slice at a Time did not disappoint with this beauty. If you follow us on Instagram (@ashleyscreativecatering), you’ve already read all about how I have never, ever served a cake that cut so perfectly. It was like cutting through butter but it tasted a million times better!

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Thank you, Heidi and Austin for allowing us to share in the joy of your day. All of us at Ashley’s Creative Catering wish you all the joy and happiness in the world!

Ashley’s Creative Catering Real Wedding: Hatfield-Smith | Huntsville, AL | Roundhouse Depot

We were so honored to get to celebrate with Laura and Chris on their wedding day this month. I cannot wait to see their professional photos from Eternal Reflections Photography by Alyson, but until then my extremely amature photography skills will have to do. 😉

Chris and Laura had such a fun menu complete with a Chicken Tenders Station and a French Fry bar where guests could create their own loaded french fries. They could even make Chili Cheese Fries if they wanted. They loved it!

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They also wanted a table of hors d’oeuvre for their guests to enjoy. It is always a blast to team up with In Bloom and see the amazing florals they create! Pairing their arrangements with our food makes for a stunning table, if I may say so myself.

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Perhaps my favorite table we created for their event was the Mini Dessert Station we did for Chris’ groom’s table. He opted to have our Banana Pudding Shooters and Mini Pecan, Lemon and Apple Pies in place of a traditional groom’s cake. I’m so glad that he did because their guests LOVED this table!

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But while we’re on the subject of cake, y’all check out this show stopper from Old Vienna. My sweet friend Teresa makes some of the best cakes I’ve ever put in my mouth. Laura’s cake looks stunning on that amazing linen from Mullins Special Occasion.

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Chris and Laura wanted to send their guests away with some yummies to enjoy later. Towards the end of the night, we brought out some homemade Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, Peanut Butter and Mint Fudge. We served them on our beautiful new marble serving pieces we got from our friends at The Stonecutter’s Guild. Guests carved off pieces of fudge to take home and enjoy later. I have to admit I tried a bite or two! It’s a toss up for me between the Peanut Butter or the Cookies and Cream as to which one I like best. 😉

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Congratulations to Chris and Laura and thank you for sharing your day with us! Wishing you guys all the joy and happiness in the world. You certainly deserve it.

Blackberry Farm – My Version of Heaven!

If you’ll remember, back in May I spent a few days in Knoxville at the Southern Food Writing Conference, which you can read all about here. While I enjoyed getting to spend some time learning from the best of the best in the food writing world, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that my favorite part was getting to tour Blackberry Farm.

While I had been to Blackberry Farm the night before for the most amazing dinner, I had only gotten a chance to see the Barn so I was extremely excited to see everything else the farm had to offer. Nothing could have prepared me for the awesomeness that I was about to experience.

From the moment we pulled up at the farm, I was in awe. We stepped off the bus and were personally welcomed by the proprietor of the inn, Mr. Sam Beall himself. It was southern hospitality at it finest as he welcomed us to the farm that he has called home since childhood.

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After a quick welcome and history lesson from Mr. Beall, we were invited to begin our tour of the property. Our first stop would be to meet Tom and Jim. I’ll tell you all about them in just a minute, but for now I want you to see some of the beauty that Blackberry Farm has to offer.

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The house pictured is the Guest House that was the original home on the property and is currently host to 11 cozy guest rooms. Standing at that hill top where the house sits, we looked over the peaceful waters and rounded a corner to find the beautiful horses grazing in the pasture. And I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to snap a picture of the lovely barn when I had dined the night before.

Finally we arrived to meet Tom and his trainer Jim. Tom is a Lagotto Romagnolos, an extremely rare breed of dog trained to hunt the Black Perigord Truffle. Jim explained to us that Tom was personally responsible for hunting and retrieving several hundred pounds of the black truffle on a recent hunt. He is kind of a big deal and the most loving little dog. Thanks to the efforts of those at Blackberry Farm, the Black Perigord Truffle is now being cultivated in Tennessee. If you visit the farm during truffle season, there is a good possibility it might just end up on your plate.

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Our next stop on our tour was over to the gardens where all of the produce grown is used by Chef Joseph Lenn and his team of culinary professionals in The Barn. While in the garden we had the pleasure of meeting the Garden Manager, Mr. Jeff Ross and Mr. John Coykendall, Master Gardner. In addition to being extremely knowledgeable about his craft, Mr. Coykendall is also one talented artist. His sketches actually adorn the beautiful charger plates used for dinner at The Barn.

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As I was standing in the garden shed having a chat with Mr. Coykendall about heirloom seeds, I turned around to find Executive Chef Joseph Lenn and his Sous Chef taking a stroll through the gardens. When I inquired about what they were doing I was told they had made a trip down to the garden in search of a plant or flower to use for garnishing dinner that evening. It is truly farm-to-table at it finest and every chef’s dream to be able to pick your own fresh ingredients.

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Our last stop on the tour was perhaps my favorite spot of the day. We took a stroll over to the Larder where all manner of animal and vegetable products are preserved. It is home to the preservation kitchen, the creamery, and the butcher. Everything that is harvested from the gardens and not used in meal prep for dinner is sent into the preservation kitchen. There is it turned into all sorts of jams, jellies, pickled vegetables and other goods available for purchase here. I can personally recommend the Pumpkin & Pear Butter. It is incredibly yummy.

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The Larder is also where the master cheese maker is responsible for making the most delicious cheeses. I had the opportunity to personally try Under The Pines, a raw cows milk cheese aged in pine needles and the Magnolia, an aged soft ripened sheep’s milk cheese. Both were superb and available for purchase in their online store.

In addition to the creamery and preservation kitchen, the Larder is also home to the butcher shop. All of the animals purchased from local farms are sent to the butcher shop to be processed for dinner. We had the opportunity to taste the various cured meats that are produced on the grounds and much like everything else, they did not disappoint.

I was so sad to see our time at Blackberry Farm come to an end. It was like saying goodbye to a family friend. I am counting down the days to my next visit but until that day comes, I’ll just have to stroll down memory lane with my pictures.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my stroll around the Farm and I hope you’ll make time to go expereice life on the farm for yourself. I gurantee you, you will not be sorry!

I’m a Little Starstruck

In May, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Southern Food Writing Conference in Knoxville, TN. Y’all let me tell you, this conference is the place to be if you’re at all interested in writing about Southern food or just shaking the hands of the movers and shakers of the Southern food writing world.

According to the Southern Foodways Alliance, this conference is the gathering place for Southern food-writing icons to discuss what makes our food and culture worth writing about. I have to say I couldn’t agree more. I looked around the room at one point and found myself surrounded by the likes of established cookbook authors, James Beard award recipients, contributors to magazines such as Garden & Gun, Southern Living and The Local Palate and people who have made food blogging their life’s passion. I have to admit, I was star struck.

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Left Middle: Linda Carman, Test Kitchen Director of White Lily and Martha White with Robyn Stone, Publisher of Add a Pinch; Bottom Left: Chef Edward Lee, James Beard award Nominee, Author of “Smoke and Pickles” and a fan favorite on Top Chef Texas; Right: Jessica Mischner, Senior Editor at Garden & Gun, John T. Edge, Director of The Southern Foodways Alliance and Hunter Lewis, Executive Editor of Southern Living. Wow! All of these people, all of this talent, all together in one room?! Oh my sweet goodness!

After a fun-filled day of soaking in all of the knowledge passed down from the experienced food writing professionals, it was time to venture out for dinner at Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN. On the bus ride over I was fortunate enough to get to enjoy a lovely chat with Jessica Mischner, Senior Editor of Garden & Gun. She had such wonderful things to say about Blackberry Farm, I found myself growing more and more excited about arriving. I certainly did not expect it to be this beautiful!

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After enjoying some social time on the grounds, we were invited into the barn for dinner. Not just any ‘ole dinner, y’all, I’m talking 5 courses of melt in your mouth, died and gone to Foodie Heaven kind of good. The kind of good that would earn someone a nomination for a  James Beard award for being the best chef in the Southeast. Oh, wait, that is exactly how good it was because it was actually prepared by the Barn’s Executive Chef Joseph Lenn, and his team of culinary professionals.

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Bottom Left: Joseph Lenn running his kitchen like clockwork.

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Everything about this dinner was absolute perfection, from the Chicken Liver Pate to the Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Mousse, but I have to say that the Benton’s Bacon Wrapped Rabbit was the winner for me. If you’re not familiar with Benton’s Bacon, you should look into fixing that. You haven’t had bacon until you’ve had Benton’s!

After a fun-filled day of learning, networking, and most importantly EATING, I was absolutely exhausted. I couldn’t wait to get back to my room and fall into a foodie coma. 😉 While I had no problem sleeping like a baby, I was like a kid waiting on Christmas morning looking forward to what was to come the next day. The following afternoon, I was going back to Blackberry Farm to go on a private tour of their grounds. From the moment I stepped off the bus, I was in love, but you’ll have to come back later to find out all about my adventures there!

Bon Appétit

I get so tickled when people say things to me like “your husband must eat GOOD at home!” or “I bet you have the best dinners at your house!” I think people assume that since I’m a caterer, I must whip up all these lavish meals for dinner every night.

The truth of the matter is that I’m usually so busy cooking for other people, that I rarely get the chance to cook for fun. It’s kinda like how the shoe maker’s kids never have shoes, I guess. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I can’t whip up lavish meals at home, I just don’t get the opportunity to do so often.

In an effort to stop eating out so much, my husband and I made a commitment to start trying to cook more at home. I couldn’t commit whole hog unless we did something to make it more fun, so we came up with this idea to have monthly date nights where we would pick a country and plan a menu based on that region’s cuisine. We call them our “Cultural Date Nights.”

I look forward to them each month, but our most recent was my favorite so far! We decided to reminisce about our trips to France and prepared a few French inspired dishes.

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Amazingly yummy fruit and cheese that we snacked on while we cooked.

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Garlic and Herb Crusted Lamb with a Balsamic Red Wine Reduction and Sautéed Vegetables

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Hubby took over the crepe making and made up his own dessert with Nutella, Whipped Cream and Strawberry Syrup.

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Since I don’t love crepes, I just couldn’t miss an opportunity to make my favorite White Chocolate Creme Brûlées.

With my sweet hubby by my side in our kitchen at home, we whipped up a French meal that was almost as good as some we’ve had in Paris…almost. 😉 But we’ve decided that good meals or bad, we don’t care as long as we’re spending time together. We’re just having fun making memories together and memories with food are always my favorite.

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Messy hair, post workout clothes, and creme brûlée, oh my! 😉

Viva Las Vegas!

Time really does fly when you’re having fun, I guess. I find it hard to believe that this super amazing Las Vegas themed, double birthday party for one of my favorite clients was this time last year. Brothers, Bill and Mark, celebrate birthdays around the same time, and last year were milestone birthdays for both of them. We celebrated in style on the 8th floor at The Summit at Big Spring for Bill’s 50th and Mark’s 40th birthdays.

As the guests stepped off the elevators they were welcomed by a variety of passed hors d’oeuvres and some martinis while they waited for the guests of honor to arrive.

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Once we got the guests of honor there, we opened the gaming tables provided by GoodFellas Gaming so the guests could get the full Vegas experience with Black Jack, Craps, Roulette and more.

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And of course my favorite part of the entire evening was opening the dinner stations that I had planned with my client. The idea was that the room would be transformed into the Las Vegas strip and Metropolitan Disk Jockey Service did an amazing job bringing my vision to life. When I told him that I wanted the guests to feel like they were on the Vegas Strip, he suggested some lighting ideas that were so perfect and it turned out even better than I had imagined it to be!

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Paris Station complete with cheeses, crepes, chocolate fondue and macarons. Oh my stars! 🙂

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New York, New York Station with Mini Hot Dogs, Soft Pretzel Bites with Beer Cheese Sauce

Last, we ended the night with some delicious cakes from Old Vienna Bakery and guests went home with dice boxes full of candy and hand decorated cookies from Sweet Art Sweets.

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Oreos by Sweeties by Kim

I know Bill and Mark had a very happy birthday last year, and I hope this year is just as awesome. Thank you for letting our crew celebrate with you!

Venue: The Summit at Big Spring

Photographer: Housley Photography

Gaming Tables: GoodFellas Gaming

DJ and Lighting: Metropolitan Disk Jockey Service

Cakes: Old Vienna Bakery

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