recipe scrapbook

September 11, 2008

Cheesecake Wedding Cakes

Filed under: ashley, wedding ideas — Ashley @ 4:50 pm

From a very early stage of our engagement, my fiancé and I decided to a go a different route with the dessert portion of the evening.

Instead of the typical traditional wedding cake, we’ve decided to go with a cheesecake wedding cake accompanied by a dessert buffet for those that don’t do cheesecake. Since we’re big fans of cheesecake, and I’m a huge fan of dessert in general, I like our multi-dessert idea.

Here’s my dilemma: I can’t seem to find a cake bakery in my area that makes cheesecake wedding cakes. They make cheesecakes and they make wedding cakes, but not cheesecake wedding cakes.

I’m looking for a cheesecake that is decorated just like a regular wedding cake with royal icing, butter cream, or fondant.

So far I’ve heard that the flavor combination of topping cheesecake with anything other than fruit is way too sweet, or just doesn’t go. I’ve also heard that it can occasionally be a bit cumbersome to decorate a cheesecake in regular cake form. Perhaps this will be one of my few bridezilla moments, but I’m not interested in those responses; I WANT MY CHEESECAKE WEDDING CAKE!

I know it can be done, I just don’t know where and by whom. If anyone out there has some input on the situation, or even suggestions regardless of your location, I’d love to hear them. And despite my previous bridezilla comment, if there are any professional bakers out there that can offer their expert opinion, I’d love to hear your take as well.

That’s it for me, until next time…

July 10, 2008

It’s Wedding Season!

Filed under: gift ideas, wedding ideas — Ashley @ 12:41 pm

Wedding season is in full swing, and Secret Ingredients Cookbooks are perfect for wedding gifts.

Our Keepsake Cookbooks are very popular wedding gifts and favors. Our Keepsake books are about $30 and include as many recipes as you like (we recommend no more than 150), as well as a personalized Dedication, and one full color photograph. These cookbooks are even great for family reunions, favors, and special occasion gifts. The Keepsakes are 4”x6” and are professionally bound like a high-quality paperback book with a laminated cover. Keepsakes can be a great shower gift for the happy couple or even used as favors for the Weeding Party.

Our Cookbook Kits are $125 and help you create a cookbook using your home computer or favorite pen. The Cookbook Kits have the same traditional and classic look of the Heirloom books while also giving you the freedom to place as many recipes and photos wherever you like. Plus, you can add to your book throughout the years!

The kit includes your choose of favorite binder and recipe paper color, and divider set, pre-punched paper to use with your home computer and printer, splash guards to protect your pages from kitchen spills and splatters, A Keepsake box for your cookbook, and directions on how to use your favorite word processing program to print your recipes.

Parents of the Bride and Groom can use the Secret Ingredients Cookbook Kit to create a treasured family gift for the new couple. The new couple can also take matters into their own hands by ordering a Cookbook Kit and encouraging wedding guests to share their favorite family recipes, photographs and stories.

That’s all for me, until next time…

January 29, 2008

I’m Engaged!

Filed under: family reunions, keepsake cookbooks, wedding ideas — Ashley @ 1:04 pm

Merry Christmas to me!  My boyfriend proposed to me Christmas night and now I’m engaged!  So despite all of the usual bride-to-be, “I’m planning a wedding” hoopla, something tells me I’ve got some Secret Ingredients Cookbooks coming my way.

My future mother-in-law has already told me that she plans on dubbing me “project manager” to create a Keepsake Cookbook for our upcoming family reunion this summer.  I can only imagine all of the great recipes that will be in that book; from my Sweet Potato Cheesecake that was a hit again this past Christmas, to my mother’s Sweet Potato Pie, my future mother-in-laws recipe for Pound Cake, and my future father-in-law’s awesome Gumbo recipe just to name a few.

It will be a great Keepsake Cookbook for the family reunion, but I’m sure it’ll be an even more impressive Heirloom Cookbook as a wedding gift.  That most incredible recipe collection, paired with photographs of both my fiancé’s and my family will truly be a treasured gift.

In the meantime, I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on my wild ride from fiancé to bride.

That’s it for me, until next time…

August 27, 2007

Recipe Shower for the Bride

Filed under: recipe showers, wedding ideas — Kate @ 6:10 pm

Recipes and recipe books make wonderful bridal gifts.  After months and months of wedding planning and celebration, nesting feels so good to most newlyweds!  Not only are young couples having fun with their new gifts and appliances, but they are enjoying their home together and creating their own traditions.  This is when having a collection of time-tested, favorite recipes comes in handy!

Wedding Cake

Gail in Waco, Texas had the best idea.  In preparation for her daughter Josie’s wedding, she planned a Recipe Shower.  Gail invited Josie’s closest friends and family to submit recipes to be included in a Secret Ingredients’ Heirloom Cookbook.  Guests sent recipes in via email and snail mail, and then Gail entered them into her SI account.  The final cookbook was presented to Josie at the Recipe Shower, and some people even made their favorite recipes for everyone to try at the shower! 

Want to throw a Recipe Shower for your favorite bride?  Gail is sharing the invitation she used for Josie’s shower with us!  Click on this link to see it:  Gail’s Recipe Shower Invite.  Thanks Gail!

If you would like to give the bridal party a copy of the cookbook, be sure to check out our new Wedding Keepsake Cookbooks.

Take care,

August 16, 2007

Momma Knows Best

Filed under: customer stories, family traditions, gift ideas, wedding ideas — Kate @ 2:03 pm

We got the cutest email from Sandra in Houston, Texas yesterday.  Sandra is getting married in September (Congratulations, Sandra!) and has been looking for a wedding gift for her fiance…

She found Secret Ingredients while she was searching for the perfect gift online.  She says that her fiance loves his mother’s cooking so much that she thought a cookbook with her recipes would make the perfect wedding gift.  Her fiance’s family lives many miles away in Spokane, Washington, and Sandra is determined to give her man the comfort foods that he loves and grew up with!  She wrote, “Of course it will take me some time to make her dishes to perfection, but I’m on a mission…” 

How sweet is that! Seriously. I definitely relate to Sandra’s story.  The move to Seattle put me almost 3,000 miles from my mother’s kitchen and comfort foods.  I’m getting by with our family’s cookbook, but I can’t wait to visit at the holidays! 

Take care and have a great day,

August 15, 2007

Engage in the Perfect Shower Gift

Filed under: cookbook ideas, gift ideas, recipe showers, wedding ideas — Ashley @ 1:37 am

In the past few months, I’ve been flooded with engagement announcements from several of my friends; even three within one day to be honest. So I’ve decided to use this topic of conversation which washed in like a tidal wave as inspiration. Since I love weddings, and the process of planning them, I happen to know a few interesting tidbits about them too. I’ve read that the average cost of a wedding is around $27,500; most couples get married in their late 20’s, there were over two-million weddings in the U.S. last year alone, and the average length of an engagement is 17 months.

Seventeen months? Well that sounds like more than enough time to hook up with valued friends and family, honker down in the kitchen, and fish out, reminisce, and create some awesomely delicious recipes to fill a Secret Ingredients Keepsake Cookbook. Lucky for you, we just happen to have a Wedding Keepsake line available as well. It comes in two elegant designs available in five different colors making it easy for you to match the theme of the wedding.

Keepsakes are perfect shower gifts. They can be given to bridesmaids from the bride, or vice versa as a send off gift to the future betrothed. The mother of the groom can present it to her soon-to-be daughter-in-law as a way to welcome her into the family, or add a twist to your average bridal shower and throw a recipe shower. Have contributors send in recipes, create your Keepsake Cookbook, and have it, like your bride, be the star of the show. Go a step further, and serve some of the recipes as signature dishes.

That’s it for me, until next time…

July 20, 2007

A Little More about Me….

Filed under: ashley, wedding ideas — Ashley @ 3:26 pm

Now that you know what role I play here at The Secret Ingredients, I’d love to give you a small peak into who I am outside of the company.

I was born in New Jersey and have lived in several small suburban towns throughout the southern parts of the state.  I’ve spent my share of summers on the Jersey shore, and did some major shopping in Philadelphia.  By the way, there it’s simply called a cheese steak (not a Philly Cheese Steak); they’re sinfully delicious, and nothing beats the real thing!  I went to high school in Charlotte, North Carolina, and ever since then I’ve become a southern girl reborn.  I love southern hospitality, warm southern weather, and of course… good ol’ fashion southern cooking.

I graduated from Salem College with a degree in Communications, and started my professional career as a local television news producer for the ABC affiliate in Asheville.  That also happens to be the where I met Kate, and essentially the rest is history.  Within a couple of years I had reevaluated my career path, moved back to Charlotte, the Queen City, and here I am.

I still dabble in news a bit in addition to my work here at The Secret Ingredients, plus, I’m also in the process of pursuing a career in wedding and event planning.  There are no words for how excited I was when Kate told me we’d be launching a Wedding Keepsake line.  As far as my favorite family events go, weddings are right up there with Christmas!

That’s it for me, until next time…


February 23, 2007

Create Traditions with Birthday Celebrations

Filed under: family traditions, gift ideas, holiday ideas, wedding ideas — Kate @ 1:48 pm

Last week I had the honor of speaking with Dr. Rus on his radio show, LiveLine.  We had a great time talking about Secret Ingredients family cookbooks and our own family traditions and favorite meals.  Dr. Rus told me about one of his favorite memories and traditions, and it was one of the most unique stories I’ve heard…

Every year his mother would make this incredible birthday cake.  She would prepare the batter and the cake pan, but before sticking it in the oven she would wrap coins in wax paper and place them strategically in the batter.  During the birthday celebration the kids would get to have this great treasure hunt as they ate their cake!  Of course, little Dr. Rus, the birthday boy, would get the piece with the most valuable coins.  What a neat tradition!   

Birthdays are an opportune time to integrate traditions.  Not only is it very doable because birthdays only happen once a year, but sometimes the most simple traditions are very memorable when they are associated with an already important day. 

A lot of families celebrate birthdays with a special cake recipe, and others let the guest of honor choose the theme or menu for the celebration.  One of my favorite childhood friends, Sarah, and her younger brother, Paul, were allowed to choose the menu for their birthday meals.  There were no boundaries.  One year, I was invited to Paul’s birthday feast.  The dining room table was set for a formal occasion with silver and the best china, and the entire family and Paul’s friends gathered around the table for a meal of macaroni and cheese, cheese potato chips, cheese and crackers, and kid’s fruit punch box drinks.  It was great!

Here are some ideas for fun and easy Birthday traditions for children:

  •  Treasure Hunts are great for early childhood years.  My parents used to set up a treasure hunt to lead my sister and I to our main gift.  You can also incorporate a treasure hunt theme into the birthday party for guests.  This is very helpful with smaller children because it keeps them occupied and focused on tasks and, of course, the treasure!  (Tip: You can buy pre-made treasure hunt kits.)
  • Birthday Photographs are a great way to document each birthday and for future scrapbooking projects.  Try to take the photo the same each year.  For example, go to a photo booth each year or take a photograph of your child blowing out the candles.  
  •  Breakfast in Bed makes everyone feel special.  Treat your children to their favorite breakfast meal in bed each year.  It’s a great way to start the day and will create lasting memories!  If a birthday falls on a weekday, put a special note and treat in your child’s lunch box.
  • If your family has a Height Chart in your home, mark it with each passing birthday and celebrate your child’s physical growth and accomplishments of the year.  This lets them know that you are proud of them and focuses on positive accomplishment.

When your children grow up, you can create a family cookbook and include favorite birthday cake recipes and photographs for the perfect gift for any occasion- weddings, baby showers, Mother’s day, and more!

February 12, 2007

The Recipe for a Perfect Wedding Favor

Filed under: wedding ideas — Kate @ 7:19 pm

We’ve all left weddings with them: a small picture frame; a chocolate bar with the bride & groom’s married name on the wrapper; even a monogrammed match box. Where do these tokens of thanks end up? Under the car seat, in the junk drawer or, yes, in the garbage (are you supposed to keep the wrapper once you’ve eaten the chocolate?).

Though they have become a standard of a traditional wedding, the wedding favor has really lost its edge over the years. Of course you could drop a few extra bucks per person on something more impressive, but is it worth it?

A wedding favor doesn’t need to be flashy or expensive. In this case, the sentiment “it’s the thought that counts,” really means something. You can say “thanks” to the family and friends who help you celebrate your big day with a small gift that “gives” forever: a recipe.

First, you have to pick the right recipe. Here are some suggestions:

  • Go with something regional or seasonal: Does your family put its own twist on a favorite regional dish? Is it warm, comforting soup season, or summer grilling season? Think of something your guests will want to make the night after your wedding.

  • Choose something from your wedding menu: Talk to the caterer about using a recipe from one of your menu items. Or, provide the recipe for a special wedding cocktail served.

  • Get sentimental: Is there a special dish between you and your husband-to-be?

  • Celebrate family tradition: Is there a traditional food associated with the wedding celebration in your family?

  • Family recipes are best, but don’t be afraid to consult a cookbook: If you can’t find a perfect family recipe, visit the library or the Internet and find a recipe for one of your favorite dishes.

  • You don’t have to stop at one recipe: If you can’t decide between two or three, use them all. Then, guests won’t all get the same thing.

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