Thursday, May 19, 2011

Getting High on Fresh Flowers!

I was retained by my darling friend and Black-eyed Susan staff florist, Shannon, to be her assistant designing the flowers for a weekend wedding party.

This is what I found when I arrived at her posh Bucks County Farmhouse!

Buckets and buckets of chartreuse (my favorite!) hydrangeas, roses, decorative cabbages,
hypernicum berries...

and multiple buckets of fresh white blooms! What a mix.

This is a favorite new find; dianthus. It looks very mossy and is extremely hardy. I kept a stem in my car for almost one week (out of water!) then took it in and put it in a glass of water, and it revived for another two weeks!! I wish I could be that sturdy! My mother would call that "gritty"! Gritty, indeed. And, cute! Way cute. It is a member of the carnation family, I least the stems look identical to carnation stems. That could be one redeeming quality of carnations, of which I've never been a fan in the least.

Shannon had prepared a delicious dinner for her family , and we took a break an hour or two into the game to enjoy stuffed peppers. Delish! I highly recommend them. Low fat, high protein and gourmet taste. I might say that my usual "night shift" work does not include great food...unless Shannon is on the team for the night, and then she generally provides this added benefit! She's definitely a keeper.

Try it, you'll love it!

Shannon's Stuffed Peppers

Preheat oven to 350
wash and core 5 peppers (I prefer using the red/orange and yellow ones)
Spray a baking dish and arrange the peppers inside
Cook peppers for about 10 minutes (just to soften)
saute in a large pan:
1 large package (2 lbs?) of ground turkey (I use the big containers from Costo)
1 T. garlic
1 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. Goya Adobo all purpose seasoning (add more to taste if needed)
(add to large bowl and let cool)
in a separate pan with lid add:
3 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. quinoa
when it starts to boil, put lid on and simmer for about 15-18 minutes until quinoa is puffy.
let cool and add to big bowl with cooked turkey.
Add to cooled turkey/quinoa mixture:
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with juice, undrained
2 c. of baby spinach
a few large handfulls of shredded parmesan cheese
mix together and stuff peppers with mixture
top with additional parmesan cheese
cook uncovered at 350 for about 15 minutes or until cheese on top is golden brown
350 calories
19 grams of protein
total fat 13 grams (saturated fat--3.5 grams)
Dietary fiber 5 grams

This is the charming room we enjoyed dinner in. A favorite color, recommended by me some time ago, SW (oh, dear, I can't recall the color...Shannon-please comment and add the color!) Check out the plate collection! I was in heaven, and Martha Stewart most likely pining .

Shannon's home was featured not long ago in Bucks County Living magazine. The walk-in fireplace that crowns the dining room is dressed with her cream-ware collection. I was totally coveting that over sized blue transfer ware platter! It was such a pleasant setting to do our creative work. The heady smell of fresh flowers, friendly cat companions, her three children entertaining us with reading was a nice break from the norm.

We set to work on her painted farm table and begin to see our visions materialize.

One of Shannon's cats enjoyed drinking from our hydrangea filled bucket!

We were creating hand-held bouquets,which can be challenging to handle...especially with arthritic hands. The design begins by adding in one stem at a time, rearranging and examining as you go. I discovered these mini cabbages last time I was in Paris. They can be ordered from Holland when given enough lead time. I have used them a good bit since this discovery!

The bridal bouquet also included white freesia and fresh rosemary!!! Shannon, that is simply brilliant! (She uses this expression quite a lot, and I admit, I think it's the perfect expression.

We used the rosemary in the boutonnieres as well. Jade roses, hypernicum berries and white spray roses dressed with a simple square knot bow of chartreuse ribbon. Oh, my!

Shannon's daughter, Riley, gladly posed with a wrist let creation. (It looks a little large on her little wrist.)

I personally am not a fan of wearing fresh flowers, but this isn't a bad way if you must!

This is the rear view of the Bridal bouquet, showing some of the dianthus peeking out! Yep, way cute.

Enjoy the mix of hydrangeas, roses, freesia, hypernicum berry, rosemary and miniature cabbage. The smell of the rosemary is really intoxicating in the mix.

We also used Lizzyanthus (not my personal favorite, but requested by the bride...) It's the "range-y" (a total Shannon term) flower that you see here. It did add a nice dimension to the mix.

The Bride's maids bouquets were slightly different in the mix, slightly smaller and identified with this beautiful green satin ribbon instead of ivory. This is going to be one beautiful line-up!

One of the challenges of working with fresh flowers is working without refrigeration. We decided to clear out Shannon's refrigerator to make room for the most important bouquets. We thought it to be the best idea, but to Shannon's horror the next morning, ice crystals had formed in the mason jars that held the bouquets! The ribbons were frozen stiff as a board! Oh, dear. A little replacing of several of the blooms was necessary, and momentary panic set in. Shannon saved the day with her quick thinking. *note to self--check accurate refrigerator temp*. Eek!

I look pretty pleased with the end result. Fresh flowers, definitely delightful!

Working in the charming atmosphere of an authentic Bucks County farmhouse, fabulous!

Working with Shannon, totally entertaining!

Many Happy Returns.

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