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Cook Talk

Peanut butter and jelly for adults at wedding
Dear Ellen my husband and I are having our wedding sept 28 2013 we were supposed to be married this past march 9th it was canceled we lost everything due to the fact my hsband was diagnosised with acute myelogenous leukemia. The great news is he is in remission we are very limited on money because I am the only one working so we thought of this cute idea for our 2pm wedding/reception spread the love with gourmet peanutbutter and assorted jams as well as artisan breads my parents tell me it's cheap a d I will kill my guests. We believe it's fun creative and different. It's also econonmical since we are paying for everything ourselves. We will also have cupcakes cookies iced tea lemonade a fruit display a veggie display as well luncheon meat for those allergic to peanutbutter. Our guest count is 70 please let us know ASAP what you think. Thanks Danielle Crawford
Hi, Danielle,

First, double congratulations on the remission and the wedding. I am a two time cancer survivor myself- 21 years and counting since the second round- and I know how precious it makes life.

I can understand why the parental units are anxious, it is a novel idea, but it can go VERY well with planning and forethought.

First, this is a perfect time slot for this type event; everyone ate lunch, it is too early for dinner, and people just want to visit and nibble. In fact a dessert only reception would be completely appropriate; one reader on a very tight budget had a December wedding and what she did was start baking and freezing Christmas cookies every weekend from July, and have Christmas cookies and bars, coffee and teas for her mid-afternoon reception. Guests commented that it was one of the pleasantest and most relaxing receptions they had ever attended. Just make sure to have plenty of chairs set around so people can sit and visit.

Second, a bread and... event is about the least expensive way to delight and impress the guests. I do this monthly for some starving artist friends for their monthly opening, and their event is the favorite on the local art walk.

So this is my suggestion:

2 enormous 4 pound 4 braid challah, served with 2 bread knives each, guests to slice their own.
about 5 pounds of block cheese for folks to whack off little chunks. 1 pound soft butter. spreaders for each.

These breads are fun to make, can be done day ahead with Rhodes frozen dough, if you don't have a bread making person to do them for you.

3 pound loaf or 2 2 pounds loaves of some ridiculously sweet bread, the favorite here is either my king cake (recipe on this site) or my chocolate chip and raisin bread with the buttercream oreo frosting.

Really good crackers, about 4 pounds.

2 pounds cream cheese with one or two of those interesting jams poured over for color and flavor; I like apricot and sour cherry spreaders for each.

spreads- how about both crunchy and smooth, but add an exotic, such as almond butter or nutella, and egg salad? About 8 pounds nut butters, 3 quarts egg salad. Maybe also hummus, about 3 quarts, look for Cortas canned at any Middle eastern market.

Jams and jellies and honey, about 5 pounds.

cupcakes- 1 each plus 10 if one flavor, if 2 you need to do 1/2 plus 10 for each flavor.
cookies and bars- 1 each flavor per person, up to 3, but these should be small, 2-3 bites.

iced tea- 6 gallons, at least 2 unsweetened, do look at the new flavored teas available
lemonade- 8 gallons, some could be lite. Some left unless it is hot. Alternative would be hot cider if you get a cold snap.

a fruit display- watermelon is the money saver here, but do look around for a produce outlet, or watch for sales week of. See the fruit tray page. Do 3 trays for 25 or 3/4 the deluxe tray for 100.

a veggie display - skip it. put out a couple of bowls of olives and crunchy pickles near the cheeses

Lunch meat? How about cocktail meatballs or smoked sausage bites in a crock pot or electric frying pan instead? With toothpicks. About 8 pounds of half inch meatballs, or cut up smoked sausage, non-tomato sauce.

Nobody would complain about this spread...

Be well and happy. Write back if you need to.

Hi Ellen thanks so much :)))))) congratulations to you also (((((((BIGHUGS))))))). No one understands until they have lived through it. The end is wonderful Steve and I love hummus we were planning on doing a hummus bar great minds think alike. I just read our invitation and guess what ? I never said anything would be served so my mom and I are asking cookies large shortbread and decorating them. I also am making little seashell shaped tea cakes. As well as this cool tart recipe my mother and I dreampt up its using fig newton thins lemon flavor and were putting cream cheese and a homemade rubarb cherry jam on them. So we're going with everything you said I cannot thankyou enough. Danielle
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